Esophageal and pharyngeal strictures: report on 1,862 endoscopic dilatations using the Savary-Gilliard technique

Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2008 Mar;265(3):357-64. doi: 10.1007/s00405-007-0456-0. Epub 2007 Sep 26.


Treatment of symptomatic pharyngeal and esophageal strictures requires endoscopic dilatation. The Savary-Gilliard bougienage was developed by our department and has been used since 1980 for this purpose. We report our experience using this technique. The records of patients seen from January 1, 1963 to December 31, 2005, who had pharyngeal and esophageal strictures needing dilatation, were reviewed. The prevalence of different etiologies, and the incidence of complications using the Savary-Gilliard dilators were assessed. Efficiency of dilatation was assessed over a 17-year segment of this period, using number of dilatations and time intervals between dilatations until resolution of symptoms as outcome measures. Of the 2,652 pharyngeal and esophageal strictures reviewed, 90% were of organic origin (45% benign and 55% malignant stenoses), and 10% were of functional etiology. The most common etiologies were peptic strictures before the era of proton pump inhibitors, and postoperative anastomotic strictures thereafter. A total of 1,862 dilatations using the Savary-Gilliard technique were analyzed. Complication and mortality rates were 0.18 and 0.09% for benign and 4.58 and 0.81% for malignant etiologies, respectively. The number of dilatations per stricture and the time interval between different sessions were dependent on the type of strictures, varying from 1 to 23 dilatations and 7 days to 16 years, respectively. Pharyngeal and esophageal dilatations using the Savary-Gilliard technique were safe when used together with fluoroscopy. Overall, the efficiency of the dilatation procedure was good, but some types of strictures (e.g., caustic, post-surgical and/or post radiotherapy) were refractory to treatment and required repeated dilatations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Catheterization / adverse effects
  • Catheterization / methods*
  • Constriction, Pathologic
  • Esophageal Stenosis / etiology
  • Esophageal Stenosis / therapy*
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Humans
  • Pharynx / pathology*
  • Retreatment
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome