Barrett's Esophagus

Barrett's esophagus is a change in the lining of the esophagus that resembles intestinal tissue and is caused by long-standing acid reflux. Over time, precancerous changes can develop and in some cases can turn into esophageal cancer. The specialists of NewYork-Presbyterian Queens offer comprehensive diagnostic testing and endoscopic and surgical treatments. Our goals are to relieve your symptoms, cure your disease, and ultimately prevent it from progressing to esophageal cancer.

Making an Accurate Diagnosis

The most effective care for Barrett’s esophagus begins with an accurate diagnosis. At NewYork-Presbyterian Queens, we have an array of advanced techniques to diagnose Barrett’s esophagus and detect precancerous changes or early cancer, including methods not routinely available elsewhere. To determine if you have this disorder and to assess its severity, our doctors use:

  • High Definition White Light Endoscopy. By inspecting the inside of your esophagus using a flexible tube with a camera at its tip, your gastroenterologist can see and remove abnormal tissue to determine if you have Barrett’s esophagus.
  • Narrow band imaging (NBI). With this endoscopic technique, your doctor uses a special system to capture high-resolution images of the inner surface of your esophagus without the use of dyes. NBI relies on the fact that light of different wavelengths penetrates tissue at different depths. The longer the wavelength, the deeper the tissue penetration. Using light of different wavelengths, your doctor can see fine features of tissue in your esophagus, aiding the detection of precancerous changes or early cancer within areas of Barrett’s esophagus.

Advanced Treatment for Barrett’s Esophagus

The specialists at NewYork-Presbyterian work together to provide you with coordinated, individualized care using the latest technologies. Our goal is to preemptively remove or destroy precancerous changes of the esophagus before the cells turn into esophageal cancer.

  • Radiofrequency ablation (RFA). Our endoscopists use an advanced form of ablation (tissue destruction) that delivers heat energy in a precise and highly controlled manner to destroy the abnormal cells lining the esophagus. With this safe therapy, we can remove abnormal Barrett’s esophagus tissue without damaging the normal underlying structures. You may experience complete disappearance of Barrett’s esophagus after RFA therapy.
  • Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR). Our endoscopists use this technique to endoscopically remove Barrett’s esophagus nodules (raised lesions) that contain precancerous changes or early cancer. We allow the area to heal and then treat the remaining Barrett’s segment with one of the above ablative therapies. EMR may enable people with early cancerous lesions to forego surgery.
  • Surgery for Barrett’s esophagus. If you have a large or deep lesion in your esophagus, you may need surgery to remove the abnormal tissue. The upper gastrointestinal and thoracic surgeons at NewYork-Presbyterian are highly skilled in performing the full range of surgical techniques for the esophagus and use minimally invasive approaches whenever possible, returning you to your normal activities sooner.

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NewYork-Presbyterian Queens

Digestive Diseases