Until now, you probably didn’t even know what Barrett’s esophagus was, let alone think you had it. While acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD) often causes these changes to the lining of your esophagus, others things can also contribute. And it’s a good thing you got it checked out — people with Barrett’s esophagus have a higher risk of esophageal cancer.
That’s why early diagnosis and treatment are important. At Cleveland Clinic, we’ll pinpoint what’s causing your Barret’s esophagus and build a personalized treatment plan for you. We’re here to help you manage this precancerous condition — and your acid reflux — and lower your risk of future health problems.
Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Barrett’s Esophagus Care?
We bring together the full range of digestive health experts under one program. You’ll work with a team that’ll cover all your needs — from diagnosis to nutrition advice and lifestyle changes to more complex procedures. Meet our team.
Innovation and research:
Cleveland Clinic is a leader in diagnosing and treating gastrointestinal diseases. We’ve developed new technologies and procedures for digestive conditions and lead clinical trials to discover better therapies. You’ll receive the latest, most innovative treatments available.
There are several minimally invasive options available at Cleveland Clinic for treatment of Barrett’s esophagus with dysplasia, including radiofrequency ablation, cryoablation, APC and endoscopic resection.
Your life is busy, so we make it easier to get your care — even from the comfort of your home. Virtual visits are an easy alternative to seeing your provider in person. You’ll get the same great one-on-one care using an internet connection and a smartphone, computer or tablet.
U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Cleveland Clinic a top hospital in the nation. Newsweek has also named us a top hospital in the world.
Barrett’s Esophagus Diagnosis at Cleveland Clinic
When you come to see us for a diagnosis, we start by getting to know you. During our first conversation, we’ll ask you about your digestive (gastrointestinal) health. We want to hear about your experience. And we’ll ask you what you’ve felt and how long you’ve felt it. Long-term gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) (acid reflux) is a risk factor for Barrett’s esophagus.
If you have signs of GERD, we may recommend an upper endoscopy. During this procedure, our team will:
- Give you a sedative (medicine to make you relax) or anesthesia (medicine that puts you to sleep).
- Guide an endoscope (thin, flexible tube with a camera and light attached) down your throat to your esophagus.
- Take a close look at your esophagus in real-time on a computer monitor.
- Use a small tool attached to the endoscope to take a biopsy (tissue sample) from your esophagus, if needed. We may skip this step if you have no signs of Barrett’s esophagus.
- Remove the endoscope and take you to a recovery area until you’re fully awake.
Our team has decades of experience performing upper endoscopies. We understand that you might be nervous about getting this procedure. We take the time to listen to your concerns and answer your questions. And our caring staff will do everything we can to help you feel at ease.
Your provider can do regular tests to catch and remove any precancerous cells (dysplasia) in their early stages. Removing these cells as soon as they’re found increases your chances of successful treatment.
Meet our team
When you come to Cleveland Clinic for Barrett’s esophagus diagnosis and treatment, you’ll work with an experienced team of healthcare providers. This team could include:
- Gastroenterologists (digestive tract specialists).
- Pathologists (tissue specialists).
- Advanced practice providers (certified nurse practitioners, physician assistants).
Who Treat Barrett's Esophagus
LocationsOur healthcare providers see patients at convenient locations throughout Northeast Ohio and Florida.
Barrett’s Esophagus Treatment at Cleveland Clinic
If tests show that you have Barrett’s esophagus, we’ll talk with you about the next steps. You’ll get a personalized care plan based on your age, medical history and grade of dysplasia, if any.
Barrett’s esophagus without dysplasia doesn’t need ablation therapy — a treatment that gets rid of abnormal tissue or tumors. Usually, our providers keep an eye on you and recommend an upper endoscopy every three to five years. We may also guide you through lifestyle changes or prescribe medications to help control GERD. Most people with Barrett’s esophagus never need surgery, especially if they receive regular care and upper endoscopies.
If you have low-grade dysplasia (a few precancerous cells), we may recommend:
- Guidance from our gastroenterologists for treatment of GERD.
- Regular checkups with our digestive health experts.
- Upper endoscopy every six months to one year.
- Ablation therapy.
If you have changes to your esophagus lining and high-grade dysplasia, you may need treatment to remove the precancerous cells. Our team uses the latest methods to remove precancerous cells in your esophagus, including:
- Endoscopic ablation: We’ll use an endoscope with a special tool attached that can destroy precancerous cells in your esophagus. Our specialists may remove the cells by heating them (radiofrequency ablation) or freezing them (cryotherapy). We’ll talk with you about options that’ll work best for you.
- Endoscopic mucosal resection: During this procedure, we’ll use an endoscope to lift and remove the damaged tissue.
- Surgery: If you have a lot of precancerous or cancerous cells, we may recommend esophagectomy (surgery to remove part of the esophagus). Our specialists are experienced in doing this delicate procedure. After removing a portion of your esophagus, we’ll rebuild it using your own tissue.
Taking the Next Step
It can be stressful to learn you have a condition that has no symptoms — and can increase your risk of cancer. We understand and we’re here to help you take charge of your health. When you work with a Cleveland Clinic provider who specializes in Barrett’s esophagus, we’ll craft a custom treatment plan that works for you. Whether it’s lifestyle changes and medications or surgical options, we’ll help you find something that works for you and gets you back to enjoying life.
Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s Barrett’s esophagus experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.
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