Barrett’s Esophagus Treatment at AGMG
Learn about Barrett’s Esophagus Treatment from the doctors of Associated Gastroenterology
Barrett’s Esophagus is a change in the cell type of the lining of the esophagus as a result of chronic acid reflux that increases the risk for esophageal cancer. The doctors at AGMG are highly skilled in diagnosing and managing all aspects of Barrett’s esophagus.
What is Barrett’s Esophagus?
Barrett’s esophagus is a condition that increased the risk for cancer of the esophagus. In response to chronic acid reflux, the cells of the esophagus actually change to look more like the cells of the small intestine. This change increases the risk for development of esophageal cancer. Although the risk even with Barrett’s esophagus is low, this is the known pathway by which esophageal cancer forms.
What are the risk factors for Barrett’s esophagus?
Barrett’s esophagus only develops in the presence of acid reflux into the esophagus. Therefore, GERD is the biggest risk factor for Barrett’s esophagus. About 10-15% of patients with GERD will develop Barrett’s. Other known risk factors for Barrett’s esophagus and cancer development include male gender, tobacco abuse, age, obesity and family history.
What are the symptoms of Barrett’s esophagus?
There are no other symptoms other than the typical GERD symptoms of heartburn and regurgitation
How is Barrett’s esophagus diagnosed?
Barrett’s esophagus is diagnosed through upper endoscopy (EGD). Using the endoscope, the doctor can closely examine the bottom of the esophagus for visual evidence of Barrett’s tissue. Biopsies can be obtained to look for changes of Barrett’s under the microscope and any signs of cancer progression.
What is the risk of cancer with Barrett’s esophagus?
The risk for cancer development in patients with Barrett’s esophagus is very rare. The risk is thought to be 0.5% per year (1 out of 200). Almost all patients with Barrett’s esophagus will not develop cancer. It is for this reason that this diagnosis should be not be a cause for alarm. However, the risk can increase however if something called dysplasia is found. Dysplasia is a development of pre-cancerous changes in the esophagus. If dysplasia is found then you doctor might recommend more intensive treatment.
How is Barrett’s esophagus treated?
Elimination of risk factors for Barrett’s progression:
- Control of acid reflux
- Smoking cession
- Weight loss
Monitoring of the Barrett’s tissue
- Endoscopy typically every 3 years to biopsy the esophagus
Removal of Barrett’s esophagus
- Burning the tissue
- Freezing the tissue
- Cutting out the tissue
What is radiofrequency ablation (RFA)?
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a procedure that the doctors of AGMG can perform to reduce the risk of cancer development. RHA uses heat to remove precancerous tissue from the esophagus. Treatment with RFA can reduce the relative risk of disease progression to cancer by up to 94 percent. If dysplasia is found on biopsy then RFA is often the treatment of choice.
If the doctors of AGMG recommend RFA for you – please carefully read these instructions prior to your procedure.