Barrett’s Esophagus

Centers for Digestive Health

Gastroenterology located in Highland, IN, Merrillville, IN, Gary, IN, DeMotte, IN, Crown Point, IN & Dyer, IN

Up to 15% of people with chronic acid reflux or GERD develop Barrett’s esophagus, a condition that significantly increases your risk for esophageal cancer. The Centers for Digestive Health, with offices in Highland, Merrillville, Gary, Dyer, Crown Point, and DeMotte, Indiana, offers diagnosis and treatment for both chronic acid reflux and complications like Barrett’s esophagus. The skilled board-certified physicians perform radiofrequency ablation with the state-of-the-art Barrx™ system, which can remove Barrett's tissue in as little as 30 minutes. Click the online appointment maker or call the office today.

Barrett’s Esophagus Q&A

What is Barrett’s esophagus?

Barrett’s esophagus happens when your esophagus — the tube between your throat and stomach — develops unhealthy changes. With Barrett's esophagus, the esophageal lining grows raw and irritated because of long-term acid reflux. 

Eventually, the esophageal lining becomes much like the intestinal lining. Up to 15% of Barrett's esophagus sufferers develop esophageal cancer, so it's very important to get a diagnosis and monitor your condition regularly. 

If you develop dysplasia (precancerous cells), your Centers for Digestive Health physician can perform an advanced treatment to help you prevent esophageal cancer.

How is Barrett's esophagus diagnosed?

Your Centers for Digestive Health physician performs an upper endoscopy, a procedure in which they can examine the lining of your esophagus, to make a preliminary diagnosis of Barrett's esophagus. 

To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor removes a small sample of tissue from an area of abnormal-looking tissue (a biopsy). Then, a pathology specialist examines that tissue in the lab to make a definitive diagnosis. 

How is Barrett's esophagus treated?

Treatment depends upon the results of your biopsy: 

Barrett's with no dysplasia

If you have Barrett's esophagus but don't have dysplasia, the typical approach includes monitoring through a repeat endoscopy in a year and then at an as-recommended frequency. 

Additionally, your doctor treats your chronic acid reflux with medication, lifestyle changes, or minimally invasive procedures to prevent Barrett’s esophagus progression. 

Barrett's with low-grade dysplasia 

Barrett’s with low-grade dysplasia typically requires a follow-up endoscopy in six months and then every 6-12 months afterward. Your doctor may recommend radiofrequency ablation using the Barxx system. 

During a radiofrequency ablation procedure, your doctor heats, destroys, and removes the Barrett's tissue while leaving the healthy tissue underneath and surrounding it undisturbed. Depending on how much Barrett's tissue you have, the procedure can take as little as half an hour.  

High-grade dysplasia

High-grade dysplasia requires removal as soon as possible, followed by frequent endoscopic monitoring. Your doctor can perform Barxx radiofrequency treatment on high-grade dysplasia because the system allows for such precise control of the ablation depth and treatment range. 

For some cases of high-grade dysplasia, you may need more aggressive treatment, such as surgery to remove the damaged section of your esophagus.

With all Barrett's esophagus treatments, the main goal is preserving your health by taking proactive steps against cancer. Learn more about how the Centers for Digestive Health can help by calling the office or clicking the online scheduler.