Treating Barrett’s Esophagus with Radiofrequency Ablation
Barrett’s esophagus is a condition that occurs in patients who have suffered from long-standing reflux. The body naturally tries to protect the junction between the stomach and esophagus that is being damaged by the acid rising from the stomach. The body does this by changing the inner lining of the esophagus from skin to small bowel lining. This abnormal lining will be biopsied, and if small bowel lining is found when the abnormal lining is examined, it indicates the presence of Barrett’s esophagus.
Because Barrett’s esophagus is recognized as a premalignant condition that predisposes the sufferer to esophageal cancer, it is considered to be a serious medical concern. Studies have found that individuals who suffer from Barrett’s esophagus have a higher risk of progressing to esophageal cancer the longer it goes untreated.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) has proven to be a highly effective and safe option for treating Barrett’s esophagus. The treatment is approved by the FDA and has been used in over 60,000 cases. The treatment uses radiofrequency energy to remove the abnormal tissue in the esophagus.
The patient is first sedated and then an upper endoscopy is performed to insert a thin tube into the esophagus via the patient’s mouth. Large areas of abnormal tissue will be treated using a balloon-mounted catheter, and small areas will be treated with an endoscope-mounted catheter.
The catheter will then emit the radiofrequency energy, which will destroy and remove the abnormal tissue. This process is known as ablation. The amount of heat produced by the radiofrequency is precisely controlled to ensure that any healthy tissue surrounding the area is not seriously injured. This is why RFA carries a noticeably lower risk of experiencing complications when compared to other ablation therapies.
If you are suffering from Barrett’s esophagus and would like to know if RFA is a good choice for you, please contact Institute of Esophageal and Reflux Surgery Canter for Esophageal Wellness to schedule a consultation with board-certified general surgeon Dr. Reginald Bell.