An endoscopy (EGD- esophagogastroduodenoscopy) is utilized to identify Barrett's esophagus. An EGD is generally carried out in a clinic under sedation. A flexible type of fiber-optic tube is placed through the mouth and down into the esophagus, that permits your doctor to see the cellular lining of the esophagus and biopsy tissue. This is usually a painless procedure.
Once a person is diagnosed with Barrett’s they should seek out a doctor who understands all the different treatment options available. Sometimes all that is needed is surveillance- that is a scheduled look at your esophagus at certain time intervals where more biopsies can be taken to confirm stability or see if things are getting worse (cells are dysplastic). Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a treatment option. In this procedure during a EGD a special catheter is used to deliver a controlled burn to the Barrett’s tissues. The bad cells will slough off like a sun burn and healthy, normal cells will take their place.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) probes are passed through the scope, which is inserted through your mouth. Precise amounts of energy are applied to remove only the Barrett’s tissue without injuring the esophagus.
During radiofrequency ablation (RFA), your doctor can choose from a variety of ablation probes to ensure that the treatment is most effective for removing your Barrett’s tissue.
This article from the New England Journal of Medicine discusses research supporting the effectiveness and safety of radiofrequency ablation as treatment option for Barrett’s esophagus.
This chart demonstrates the effectiveness of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) in eradicating intestinal metaplasia (IM), low-grade dysplasia (LGD), and high-grade dysplasia (HGD)—all potential precursors to esophageal cancer.