Self-dilation for refractory oesophageal strictures: an Auckland City Hospital study

N Z Med J. 2010 Aug 27;123(1321):49-53.


Aim: To determine the demographics, indications and long-term outcomes of patients using self-dilators for refractory oesophageal strictures.

Methods: Patients with oesophageal strictures who performed self-dilation were analysed retrospectively. Patients who were still alive were also interviewed via telephone.

Results: A total of 8 patients were analysed and 2 patients had since died. Most patients were in the 20-29 age group (n=4) when they first attempted self-dilation. The most common cause for oesophageal strictures was ingestion of corrosive (n=5). Each patient underwent on average 20 endoscopies (including endoscopic dilations) before attempting self-dilations. 1 patient developed oesophageal perforation during endoscopic dilation. 3 patients were still using self-dilators at the time of analysis. All the patients were only using lubricants (K-Y jelly) and none required topical anaesthetic such as Xylocaine throat spray.

Conclusions: Oesophageal self-dilators were well-tolerated and complications were rare. By reducing the need for endoscopies, they are potentially cost-effective. However, patients must receive proper education before they are able to administer this treatment with confidence.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Catheterization*
  • Esophageal Stenosis / therapy*
  • Esophagoscopy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lubricants / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Self Care*


  • Lubricants