Oesophageal stricture

Constriction of the esophagus, which can lead to discomfort, challenges in swallowing, regurgitation of food, and weight loss.

Oesophageal stricture can stem from various sources, including esophageal cancer or a range of noncancerous factors. These encompass persistent reflux oesophagitis, where ongoing irritation due to stomach acid leads to inflammation and subsequent scar tissue formation, resulting in narrowing. In Plummer-Vinson syndrome, a tissue web develops in the upper esophagus, often linked with iron deficiency anemia. Another contributor is a Schatzki ring, a noncancerous fibrous ring found in the lower esophagus, which can impede swallowing. Prolonged usage of a nasogastric tube or ingestion of corrosive substances can inflame the esophagus, potentially leading to stricture formation.

A barium swallow procedure might aid in validating the diagnosis. Endoscopy, involving the insertion of a visual instrument into the esophagus, is utilized to examine the narrowed region, and a biopsy, involving the extraction of a tissue sample for microscopic assessment, is conducted to rule out the potential presence of cancer.

In certain instances, the constricted region can be expanded through a procedure called oesophageal dilatation. However, if the narrowing arises from cancer, or in exceptionally rare scenarios where there is extensive constriction over a prolonged portion of the esophagus (typically from ingesting corrosive substances), surgical removal of the affected area might be necessary. In such cases, the stomach can be relocated to the chest or a segment of the colon can be used to replace the missing portion of the esophagus.