Barrett’s Esophagus

Barrett’s Esophagus services offered in Florence, MA

Up to 15% of people with chronic acid reflux develop Barrett’s esophagus, a condition that increases the risk of esophageal cancer. At Hampshire Gastroenterology Associates, LLC, in Florence, Massachusetts, the team of board-certified gastroenterology doctors uses the most advanced evidence-based techniques to detect and treat Barrett’s esophagus. With early treatment, you can lower your risk of cancer and stay healthy, so call the office for help now.

What is Barrett’s esophagus?

Barrett’s esophagus is inflammation, reddening, and thickening of the esophagus. When you have Barrett’s esophagus, the tissue lining your esophagus changes from smooth and pale to a salmon-pink color with a rough texture similar to your intestinal lining. 

Up to 15% of people with chronic acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD) develop Barrett’s esophagus. People with Barrett’s esophagus are more likely to develop precancerous tissue changes called dysplasia. Dysplasia may lead to esophageal cancer. For that reason, people with GERD require regular monitoring.

What symptoms does Barrett’s esophagus cause?

Barrett’s esophagus doesn’t cause symptoms itself. But, GERD, the leading cause of Barrett’s esophagus, usually causes many uncomfortable issues, including: 

  • Heartburn
  • Bad taste in your mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Regurgitation of stomach contents
  • The feeling of having a lump in your throat 

In some cases, people with Barrett’s esophagus also have blood in their vomit or stool. Severe cases may also lead to unintended weight loss. It’s also possible to have Barrett’s esophagus without GERD. 

How is Barrett’s esophagus diagnosed?

The Hampshire Gastroenterology Associates, LLC team uses evidence-based techniques to detect cellular abnormalities within the esophagus before they become cancerous. That includes: 

Endoscopy with biopsy

Your provider uses a slim tube tipped with a tiny camera to view your esophagus during an endoscopy. They can insert a thin tool to take small samples of esophageal tissue for testing. 

WATS3D system 

The Wide-Area Transepithelial Tissue Sampling with computer-assisted 3D analysis (WATS3D) system uses a stiff-bristle brush to gather cell samples from the esophagus, allowing for wider cell sampling increased diagnostic accuracy than traditional biopsy alone. 

Combining WATS3D with traditional biopsy offers more accurate identification of Barrett’s esophagus, ultimately leading to fewer esophageal cancers and cancer-related deaths. 

How is Barrett’s esophagus treated?

Treatment of Barrett’s esophagus depends on whether you have dysplasia. If you have dysplasia, treatment can also vary with the specific grade.

No dysplasia

If you have no dysplasia, you may simply need endoscopic monitoring every three years along with GERD treatment. 

Low-grade dysplasia

If you have low-grade dysplasia, you may need endoscopies more frequently. Some people with low-grade dysplasia may need treatment to remove Barrett's esophagus tissue.

High-grade dysplasia

For high-grade dysplasia, you’ll typically need endoscopic treatment. Hampshire Gastroenterology Associates, LLC offers hybrid argon plasma coagulation. The treatment lifts the esophageal lining to access and eliminate the unhealthy Barrett’s tissue while preserving healthy tissue.

The team may also recommend other approaches based upon your unique circumstances. 

Call the Hampshire Gastroenterology Associates, LLC office for help now.