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Difference Between Dilation and Dilatation

Dilation vs Dilatation

Dilation and dilatation are synonymous terms used in many areas to refer the enlargement of a certain feature. In biology, the two terms are used interchangeably, but in the general biological science these terms are used in a particular manner that is generally accepted in many cases. It is difficult to identify, precisely, a manner in which the terms dilation and dilatation are used in biology. Therefore, the general usage of these terms in physiology and medicine could be laid out as follows.

Pupillary Dilation: This is a response of the eye where the size of the pupil varies due to few causes. Pupillary dilation takes place with the contraction and relaxation of the iris dilator muscle. The size of the pupil is enlarged when the light intensity is low while it becomes smaller with high light intensity.

Cervical Dilation: The enlargement of the diameter of the cervix (cervical widening), which is vital in childbirth, miscarriage, induced abortions, and gynaecological surgeries. It is interesting that the cervical dilation may take place either naturally or medical induction. There is another procedure related to this, known as the Dilation and Evacuation, in which the contents of the uterus are evacuated after dilating the cervix. Dilation and evacuation is important to perform after miscarriage as it would be helpful to prevent infectious diseases. Dilation and Curettage is another procedure that involves the widening of the cervix and removing the contents of the uterus plus scraping the lining cell layers. This is a therapeutic procedure performed to investigate causes for abnormal uterine bleeding. Additionally, the dilation and curettage aids in removing the remaining placenta after childbirth.

Vasodilation: This is the increase of the diameter of blood vessels, which results in enlargement of the lumen of the vessel. Vasodilation increases the blood flow, which occurs when there is a tissue with the need of high oxygen and glucose, and there are few mechanisms identified to perform this process.

Esophageal dilatation: This is a developed surgical procedure for enlarging the diameter of the lumen of esophagus. Although this comes with the term dilatation, it also means the enlargement as dilation does. There may be many causes for a constricted oesophagus, and all of those will result in difficulties in swallowing, and passing the food into the stomach. Oesophageal dilatation could be a good option to overcome such situations.

Dilation vs Dilatation

In biology, the terms dilation and dilatation has no difference and could be used to refer any enlargement. However, dilation seems the more preferred term over dilatation despite the both mean the same. Except in oesophageal dilatation, most of the other procedures/processes are termed with ‘Dilation’. Both these can be surgical procedures as well as natural processes. Therefore, it could be stated that dilation and dilatation are two terms for one meaning, and their usage may be subjected to the reference.


Read Difference Between Time Dilation and Length Contraction


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