Gastroenterology Services

Endoscopic Variceal Ligation (Banding)


Endoscopic band ligation is a procedure that uses elastic bands to treat enlarged esophageal varices (or veins). These are abnormal veins that develop in the esophagus and have thin walls with high blood pressure running through them. If not treated, the veins may rupture and cause serious bleeding.

Preparing for the procedure

You should not eat at least eight hours before the procedure. Your doctor may ask you to stop taking medications including aspirin, blood thinners or antiplatelets one week prior to the procedure.

During the procedure

This procedure is performed as part of an upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy. You will be given medicine intravenously to help you relax. Your throat may be sprayed with numbing anesthetic before the endoscope is inserted into your mouth and passed down to your esophagus. The endoscope has a light and camera on the end for doctors to locate enlarged veins. Once an enlarged vein is located, instruments are passed down the scope and bands are placed around the vein to stop blood supply.

You should arrange for transportation home since you will not be able to drive due to drowsiness from the sedative and pain medications. It is normal for your throat to feel irritated or sore after the procedure. You should refrain from any strenuous activity for 24 hours after the procedure.