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Ablation of Barrett's Esophagus

What is ablation of Barrett's esophagus?
Why would a doctor recommend ablation of Barrett's esophagus?
What does ablation of Barrett's esophagus involve?
How long is the recovery after ablation of Barrett's esophagus?

What is ablation of Barrett's esophagus?

Barrett's esophagus is a condition in which the normal lining of the esophagus - the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach - is replaced with a lining similar to that of the stomach. Although Barrett's esophagus causes no symptoms on its own, it increases a person's chances of getting a rare type of cancer of the esophagus called esophageal adenocarcinoma.

Ablation of Barrett's esophagus is when a doctor attempts to destroy the abnormal lining in the esophagus by laser, heat, or other means, so the normal lining of the esophagus can re-grow over the destroyed abnormal lining.

Why would a doctor recommend ablation of Barrett's esophagus?

If your doctor thinks you may have Barrett's esophagus, he or she may perform an upper GI endoscopy to take a tissue sample, or biopsy, of the lining of your esophagus. If study of the biopsy shows cells that may become cancer, the doctor may recommend ablation.

What does ablation of Barrett's esophagus involve?

You will be given medication to make you relaxed and drowsy during the procedure. The doctor uses an endoscope - a tiny video camera mounted on a thin, flexible tube with a light at the end - to look inside your esophagus and stomach. The doctor inserts the endoscope through your mouth, and guides it into the esophagus.

Thermal ablation uses electrical probes, lasers, or a conductive gas to directly burn off the Barrett's lining. The narrow heating device is threaded down and through the endoscope. Using a computer to control the heating device, the doctor destroys the abnormal tissue.

How long is the recovery after ablation of Barrett's esophagus?

You will need to rest in a recovery area until the effects of your medication have worn off, about an hour. Someone will need to drive you home, and you should take it easy for the rest of the day. You will be able to resume your normal activities the next day.

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