Some people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) develop Barrett’s esophagus, which can lead to cancer. At the Institute of Esophageal and Reflux Surgery in Lone Tree, Colorado, a part of SOFI Research, LLC, Reginald Bell, MD, and Philip Woodworth, MD, offer specialized Barrett’s esophagus treatments. They perform cutting-edge procedures like radiofrequency ablation (RFA) using the Barrx™ system. Call the Institute of Esophageal and Reflux Surgery today or book an appointment online to benefit from expert Barrett’s esophagus treatment.
Barrett’s esophagus develops if you have long-standing gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD results from repeated acid reflux attacks, where stomach acid travels up your esophagus. This acid inflames the lining, causing heartburn.
The root of the problem is your lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This muscular ring at the bottom of your esophagus opens when you swallow to allow food and drink into your stomach. It closes and forms a seal afterward to prevent stomach acid from escaping.
The LES doesn’t close properly when you have GERD, so stomach acid travels up the esophagus. Your body tries to protect the affected tissues by changing the inner lining of your esophagus. Stomach or small bowel lining cells start growing, causing Barrett’s esophagus.
A significant number of people with Barrett’s esophagus eventually develop esophageal cancer. Getting treatment for GERD and Barrett’s esophagus at the Institute of Esophageal and Reflux Surgery prevents this.
The Institute of Esophageal and Reflux Surgery team diagnose Barrett’s esophagus using endoscopy. An endoscope is a flexible instrument that goes down your throat into your esophagus and stomach. It’s fitted with a camera that sends back images of the tissues to a screen in the treatment room.
Abnormal tissue is salmon-colored and gradually spreads up the esophagus. If the team identifies these abnormal tissues, they take a sample (biopsy) for lab analysis. If a small bowel lining is visible under the microscope, it confirms a diagnosis of Barrett’s esophagus.
Several Barrett’s esophagus treatments are available. In the early stages, controlling acid reflux stops Barrett’s esophagus from worsening. That might involve taking medication to reduce the tissue’s exposure to stomach acid. Or you might need an anti-reflux operation.
Patients with Barrett’s esophagus often have a hiatal hernia with severe reflux. Laparoscopic hiatal hernia repair is an excellent choice for these patients. Other procedures include:
To prevent more advanced cases of Barrett’s esophagus from becoming cancerous, you might need radiofrequency ablation (RFA) with Medtronic’s Barrx system. Barrx delivers heat energy to your diseased esophageal lining, destroying the abnormal tissues.
An alternative is endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR), which involves surgically removing the diseased tissue from your esophagus. EMR is preferable to esophagus removal, which might still be necessary if you have advanced esophageal cancer.
Call the Institute of Esophageal and Reflux Surgery today or book an appointment online to receive prompt, expert treatment for Barrett’s esophagus.