We retrospectively reviewed our experience with palliative dilation for dysphagia in esophageal carcinoma. During a 3-year period 26 patients with squamous-cell carcinoma of the esophagus underwent peroral esophageal dilation for relief of dysphagia. Twenty-four were able to resume a soft or regular diet after dilation. This improvement was accomplished with low morbidity and no mortality. Dilations were done without additional risk in patients with malignant tracheoesophageal fistulae and in patients undergoing radiation therapy. We conclude that esophageal dilation can be done safely and effectively in patients with squamous-cell carcinoma of the esophagus. Palliative dilation can significantly improve the quality of life for these patients and should be considered an important part of their management plan.