Endoscopic radiofrequency ablation therapy offers new hope for many Barrett’s sufferers. Furthermore, understanding what to expect in the wake of RFA can help you feel more comfortable before and during the procedure. Please feel free to contact the doctors at Barrett’s Esophagus Center of Excellence at (888) 548-7614 for information about your recovery after endoscopic radiofrequency ablation therapy.
Recovery After Endoscopic RFA
Performed at our safe and comfortable outpatient treatment center in Los Angeles, RFA generally lasts just 30 minutes. Because you are sedated during RFA, you will spend forty-five minutes to an hour relaxing in our recovery center after the procedure. Your doctor will provide you with detailed aftercare instructions before allowing you to leave the facility with your driver.
In the days after RFA, you may experience slight discomfort. Some patients report mild chest and throat pain or trouble swallowing. However, these symptoms can be alleviated with pain medication and typically subside within a few days. Most patients return to work the day after the procedure.
Your board-certified GI specialist will provide you with special instructions for eating after RFA. In general, patients must consume a liquid-only diet for the first 24 hours. The patient can then progress to a diet of soft foods. After a week, the patient should be able to resume normal eating.
Most people tolerate RFA very well.
Complications With Endoscopic Radiofrequency Ablation Therapy
Radiofrequency ablation therapy is widely regarded as a safe method for treating Barrett’s esophagus. However, in rare cases, complications have occurred. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have about RFA, and be sure to call if you experience any of the following:
• Difficult swallowing which could be due to narrowing/stricturing of the esophagus
• Pain due to perforation of the stomach, esophagus, or pharynx
• Cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm)
• Fever/signs of infection
Follow-up Care After RFA
In order to minimize acid reflux, our doctors will advise you to take various acid suppression medications after radiofrequency ablation therapy. You may also need to undergo additional sessions of RFA before your Barrett’s can be considered cured.
According to published studies, most patients require between two and four RFA sessions to cure their Barrett’s. Doctors generally perform RFA every two to three months until the esophagus is healthy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How many sessions of RFA will I need?
A: It’s hard to predict how many sessions of RFA will be required to cure your Barrett’s disease. Your GI specialist will be able to give you a better idea after performing an endoscopy. The number of treatments required varies among patients.
Q: What complications can occur with RFA?
A: RFA is generally regarded as a safe procedure for treating Barrett’s disease. However, you should be on the alert for the following rare complications: narrowing of the esophagus, bleeding, infection and perforation of the esophagus or stomach.
Q: What is the cure rate associated with RFA?
A: Medical literature reports published cure rates of 77-100%.
Q: Will I be able to return to work after the procedure?
A: Because you will be sedated during RFA, you won’t be able to return to work immediately. However, most patients resume work the following day.
Q: Will I be in pain after RFA?
A: You should not experience much pain at all after RFA. Some patients feel minor discomfort, which is easily relieved with pain meds.
Next, learn about before RFA.
Contact Our Doctors
The expert doctors at the Barrett’s Esophagus Center strive to ensure your comfort both during and after a procedure. Call (888) 548-7614 or contact us online with any questions you may have about undergoing radiofrequency ablation therapy.
Next, read about esophagectomy.