Savary dilation is a safe and effective long-term means of treatment of symptomatic cricopharyngeal bar: a single-center experience

J Clin Gastroenterol. 2014 Jul;48(6):500-4. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0000000000000026.


Goals: Dilation of a cricopharyngeal (CP) bar can be a safe and effective means of nonsurgical treatment as elderly patient population has high morbidity and is at a higher risk of surgical complications.

Background: CP bar is a relatively uncommon radiologic finding, which is an infrequent cause of oropharyngeal dysphagia in the elderly population.

Methods: Patients were included in study from January 2007 to January 2012, if their dysphagia was solely attributed to CP bar on predilation radiologic imaging by either modified barium swallow or barium esophagogram. A functional outcome swallowing score (FOSS) was calculated at 1, 4, and 6 months from initial and last dilation performed.

Results: A total of 31 patients with a mean age of 71.65 (54 to 88) years and mean body mass index 27.81 (15 to 41) were included in the study. Over the time period of 5 years, a total of 53 dilations were performed. The median predilation FOSS was 3. The median postdilation FOSS was 1 at the end of 6 months from last dilation performed. There were no immediate or remote complications.

Conclusions: On follow-up from first dilation, 65% patients had statistically significant improvement in FOSS lasting for at least 6 months. Savary dilation seems to be a safe and effective treatment for symptomatic CP bar patients.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Barium
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology
  • Deglutition Disorders / therapy*
  • Dilatation / adverse effects
  • Dilatation / methods*
  • Esophageal Stenosis / pathology
  • Esophageal Stenosis / therapy*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pharyngeal Muscles / pathology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Barium