Information for the public

Benefits and risks

Benefits and risks

When NICE looked at the evidence, it decided that the procedure was safe enough and worked well enough to be used in the NHS. The 8 studies that NICE looked at involved a total of 508 patients.

Generally, the studies showed that most patients had no swallowing problems, or a significant improvement in swallowing, after the procedure. This improvement was maintained (patients were followed up between13 and 43 months after the procedure).

In 39 out of 210 patients swallowing problems returned, but further treatment was generally successful.

The studies showed that the risks of the procedure included:

  • small holes in the oesophagus in 13 out of 241 patients

  • bleeding in 3 out of 167 patients, 1 of whom needed a transfusion

  • a neck abscess in 1 patient

  • infection in 4 out of 41 patients

  • pneumonia in 1 patient after removal of a breathing tube.

If you want to know more about the studies, see the guidance. Ask your health professional to explain anything you don't understand.

  • Information Standard