The physicians at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center’s Digestive Health Institute have paved the way for advances in gastrointestinal disorder treatment. Using the HALO360 System, our physicians perform endoscopic radiofrequency ablation therapy, a new, highly effective and less invasive alternative to traditional surgery that has revolutionized the treatment of Barrett’s esophagus, a condition that can lead to esophageal cancer.
Barrett’s esophagus is a precancerous condition of the esophagus that has been associated with chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It occurs when the esophagus is exposed to acid reflux over a long period of time, usually in patients with GERD. As the stomach acid degrades the esophageal lining, it becomes inflamed and infected and can lead to the formation of cancerous cells.
The Radiofrequency Ablation Procedure
Previously, Barrett’s esophagus was managed with watchful waiting followed by traditional surgery. Now, it can now be treated with ablation, a less invasive method of burning away the infected esophageal cells to make way for healthy tissue. Ablation allows physicians to remove the diseased esophageal lining that could develop into cancerous cells if left untreated.
How It Works
Radiofrequency ablation therapy is an outpatient procedure that takes less than an hour.
- The procedure is performed with an endoscope, a tube-shaped device with a fiber-optic light and camera at the end that the physician uses to visually examine the esophagus. No incisions are necessary.
- While the patient is sedated, the physician passes the endoscope through the patient’s mouth and guides it down the esophagus.
- The physician uses the endoscope to insert a catheter that generates short bursts of high energy to burn away a thin layer of the damaged tissue around the circumference of the esophagus.
- Within three to four weeks, new, healthy tissue replaces the affected Barrett’s tissue for most patients.
- Following the procedure, patients resume medications for acid suppression.
Recent studies show that 90 percent of patients treated with radiofrequency ablation have no residual Barrett’s esophagus tissue three years after treatment.
To learn more, for help finding a physician or to schedule an appointment, call 1.800.3.ADVOCATE (1.800.323.8622). You can also find a physician and request an appointment online.