Diagnosing Barrett’s esophagus early—and undergoing preventative treatment—can help protect you from more serious conditions like esophageal cancer. Because esophageal cancer can be asymptomatic in its early stages, the disease is often diagnosed in the later stages where survival rates are much lower.
If you think you may be suffering from Barrett’s esophagus, or if you’re experiencing troubling gastrointestinal symptoms like severe acid reflux or discomfort with swallowing food, you should see a GI specialist immediately. For more information, contact La Peer Health Systems’ Barrett’s Esophagus Center of Excellence by calling (888) 548-7614.
How Do I Get a Barrett’s Esophagus Diagnosis?
The board-certified GI doctors at the Barrett’s Esophagus Center typically diagnose Barrett’s esophagus by performing a procedure called an upper endoscopy. During the procedure, we will insert a lighted tube with a camera on the end into the throat. Through the camera, the doctor will examine the lining of the esophagus. In a healthy esophagus, the tissue looks pale and glossy. In individuals with Barrett’s disease, the esophagus is red and may resemble the lining of the intestine.
Our doctors may opt to perform a biopsy if the esophagus appears to be damaged. During the biopsy, we will pass small tools through the tube in order to take a tissue sample. Since you will be sedated, you will not experience any discomfort during the process. After receiving the results of the biopsy, our doctors will be able to identify the degree of dysplasia (cancerous tissue) if any and prescribe the appropriate course of treatment.
Upper Endoscopy Testimonial from One of Our Surgeons
Treating Barrett’s Esophagus
Depending upon the level of dysplasia, our GI specialists will recommend different treatment options.
For individuals with low-grade dysplasia, the doctor may recommend that they undergo regular endoscopies to monitor their conditions or endoscopic radiofrequency ablation to remove precancerous tissue from the lining of the esophagus. RFA allows healthy tissue to grow back. Treatment options for patients with high-grade dysplasia include RFA and esophagectomy (surgical resection of the esophagus).
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How often should Barrett’s patients undergo endoscopies?
A: Follow your GI doctor’s instructions for scheduling follow-up endoscopies. In general, our doctors recommend that people with Barrett’s disease undergo biopsies every three years.
Q: Who should be tested for Barrett’s?
A: People with a history of GERD and those with chronic heartburn should be screened for Barrett’s esophagus.
Q: How long does it take to get the results of a biopsy?
A: Generally, the doctors at the Barrett’s Esophagus Center will call you a few days after your biopsy to review the results.
Q: If I have Barrett’s, am I likely to develop esophageal cancer?
A: Only a small percentage of people with Barrett’s disease go on to develop esophageal cancer, and seeking treatment for Barrett’s esophagus may help lessen your risk.
Q: Can treating GERD help prevent me from developing Barrett’s disease?
A: Yes! Treating the symptoms of GERD may prevent you from developing Barrett’s esophagus in the future.
Contact the Barrett’s Esophagus Specialists
At the Barrett’s Esophagus Center of Excellence, we offer state-of-the-art procedures to diagnose and treat Barrett’s esophagus. If you think you may be suffering from this condition, don’t hesitate contact our Barrett’s esophagus specialists for an appointment to undergo a screening procedure at our Los Angeles facility. For more information, call us today at (888) 548-7614.
Next, read about Barrett’s symptoms.