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Dilation after fundoplication: timing, frequency, indications, and outcome.

BACKGROUND: Dysphagia frequently develops shortly after fundoplication but is usually self-limited. This is an evaluation of the timing, frequency, indications, and outcome of dilation after fundoplication.

METHODS: Two hundred thirty-three consecutive patients who underwent fundoplication were included. Preoperative motility, postoperative symptoms, endoscopic and radiographic data, timing and number of dilations, and caliber of the dilator used were evaluated in patients who required dilation.

RESULTS: Twenty-nine of 233 (12.4%) patients underwent dilation(s). The mean time to dilation after surgery was 72 days (range 3 to 330 days). Ten of 29 (34.5%) required more than 1 dilation (mean 1.5, range 1 to 5). The mean diameter to which the fundoplication was dilated was 18.6 mm (range 15-20 mm). There were no complications. The indication for dilation was dysphagia in 20, chest pain 4, epigastric pain 1, globus 1, gas bloat 1, belching 1, and vomiting in 1 patient. Two patients were lost to follow-up. Dysphagia resolved with dilation in 12 of 18 (67%) patients. Of the 6 patients whose symptoms did not improve after dilation, 3 noted improvement after further surgery. Two patients with tight fundoplications still require periodic dilation. One patient had a stricture before surgery that persisted after surgery. Symptoms did not improve in any patient who underwent dilation for an indication other than dysphagia.

CONCLUSIONS: Dilation after fundoplication was required in 12.4% of patients and was successful in most with dysphagia. Dilation shortly after surgery was safe and only a single dilation was required for most patients. Symptoms other than dysphagia did not respond to dilation.

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