(Esophageal Band Ligation)
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Esophageal varices are abnormal blood vessels (veins) that develop in the esophagus. They have abnormally thin walls, and the blood pressure within them is very high. This combination makes esophageal varices very dangerous, because they can burst and cause life-threatening bleeding.
Endoscopic band ligation is the use of elastic bands to treat the varices. It is done as part of an upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy.
Reasons for Procedure
This procedure is done to treat esophageal varices (enlarged veins). If left untreated, varices could rupture and bleed severely.
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
- Painful swallowing
- Esophageal damage
Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
- Bleeding disorder
- Active bleeding
- Advanced age
- Heart or lung problems
- Use of certain medicines
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Your doctor will likely do a physical exam and order blood tests.
- Do not eat for 8 to 12 hours before the procedure.
- If you have diabetes, discuss your medications with your doctor.
- Arrange for transportation after the procedure. You should not drive for 24 hours after the procedure.
Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure, like:
- Aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Blood thinners
- Local—You may be given an anesthetic solution to gargle, or your throat may be sprayed with a numbing anesthetic.
- You may also be given a sedative to help you relax.
- Conscious sedation—You may be given medications through an IV. It will help you relax. Other medications will be given to treat any pain you feel during the procedure.
Description of the Procedure
For this procedure, you will lie on your left side. A mouthpiece will be placed to help keep your mouth open. An assistant will be in the room to monitor your breathing and heart beat. You may also be given oxygen through your nose. A suction tube will be used to clear the saliva and other fluids from your mouth.
A lubricated endoscope will be placed into your mouth. It will be passed down