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Achalasia can sometimes be treated with medication that helps the lower esophageal sphincter relax. If medication is ineffective, however, esophageal dilatation can correct the problem.
To open the esophagus, a balloon dilator is passed through the mouth down to the level of the lower esophageal sphincter, using an endoscope. The balloon is inflated, thus stretching the sphincter.
Review Date 10/15/2019
Updated by: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.