The results of a conservative treatment of benign esophageal strictures (68 peptic, 21 postsurgical, 2 caustic stenoses, 8 Schatzki rings, 1 esophageal web) were evaluated in 100 patients. Treatment consisted of dilatation either with Eder-Puestove olives or with mercury bougies up to 18-20 mm, or with both. In addition, all patients received antireflux therapy when indicated. The follow-up study lasted from 1-6 yr. The results show that 88 patients became symptom-free. In 4 patients the results were moderate (intermittent dilatation necessary), while there were three failures: all in patients with a severe ulcerating peptic reflux esophagitis with stenosis. They were treated by antireflux surgery. There were eight perforations; all patients survived after surgical (4) and conservative (4) treatment; 3 patients received further dilatation. Conservative dilatory treatment (up to 18-20 mm), combined with antireflux therapy when indicated, offers in general an adequate result in patients with benign esophageal strictures.