Management of esophageal strictures in children
- Cite this article as:
- Rodriguez-Baez, N. & Andersen, J.M. Curr Treat Options Gastro (2003) 6: 417. doi:10.1007/s11938-003-0044-3
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Esophageal dilatation remains the primary treatment of esophageal strictures. Aggressive esophageal dilatation is indicated regardless of the etiology and length of the stricture. Esophageal dilatation causes iatrogenic trauma and tearing of scar tissue that may result in restricturing. Local infiltration of triamcinolone into the stricture site at the time of dilatation may markedly reduce subsequent scar formation and restricturing. Intralesional triamcinolone is most useful for short strictures and may decrease the need for future dilatation. Successful management of esophageal strictures requires the aggressive treatment of all pathogenic processes contributing to esophageal inflammation and restricturing following dilatation. Medically uncontrolled reflux esophagitis may require antireflux surgery to successfully dilate the stricture. Balloon dilators apply only radial forces and no longitudinal, shearing forces. They are most useful for two situations: circumstances under which it is desirable to minimize esophageal trauma (eg, epidermolysis bullosa) and short strictures. Savary-Gilliard dilators are useful for strictures resistant to balloon dilatation and for long strictures that require carefully controlled and graded dilatation. We routinely use dilators instead of guide wires for long strictures, multiple strictures, tortuous esophagus, and very narrow strictures, particularly when the state of the esophagus distal to the stricture is unclear. Failure of aggressive, frequent dilatation to maintain sufficient esophageal luminal diameter may necessitate surgical intervention (ie, resection of the stricture or esophageal replacement).