The Barrx procedure ablates (destroys) the abnormal tissue that characterizes Barrett’s esophagus with carefully targeted radiofrequency energy (radio waves). While the patient is under sedation, a specialized catheter is inserted through the mouth until it reaches the abnormal tissue. The physician then delivers targeted bursts of energy that ablates this tissue. The procedure takes about 30 minutes, and patients leave the same day.
Physicians have been using radiofrequency energy to remove diseased tissue in various areas of the body for many years. The Barrx catheters are specifically designed and sized for the esophagus, allowing the physician to remove less than a millimeter of tissue while leaving the adjacent healthy tissue intact.
“Barrx offers minimal side effects and is 85 to 90 percent effective in completely eliminating Barrett’s esophagus,” says Daniel Ringold, MD, a Jefferson Abington Hospital gastroenterologist and Director of Advanced Endoscopic Services who performs the Barrx procedure. He notes that some patients may require two to three procedures, spaced three to four months apart, to remove all of the diseased tissue.
The best part? Within three to four months, normal, healthy tissue regrows and replaces the Barrett’s tissue, decreasing the risk of esophageal cancer. Patients may still need to take medications to control acid reflux and prevent Barrett’s from recurring.