Radiofrequency Ablation of Barrett’s
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a treatment for Barrett’s esophagus that uses high-energy radio waves to burn and destroy abnormal cells. Before the treatment, the patient’s esophagus will be examined using an endoscope – a long, flexible tube equipped with a tiny camera. The gastroenterologist leads the endoscope into the esophagus through the patient’s mouth, using the camera to locate abnormal cells (Barrett’s esophagus), and will take a biopsy for diagnosis. This diagnostic procedure is called an upper endoscopy.
The RFA procedure follows, and is performed using an endoscope as well, this time to deliver radio waves. The pinpoint accuracy of this method enables the waves to destroy abnormal or precancerous cells while protecting the healthy cells and tissue underneath. The burned tissue will shed in two to three days and new tissue will replace it in six to eight weeks.
On average, one to three sessions are required. Following the procedure, the patient will be treated with a stomach acid-blocking medication (proton pump inhibitors).
The patient will be sedated for this procedure and therefore will be required to fast for at least eight hours beforehand. The doctor will want a complete list of current medications and will require that the patient has a ride home.