Barrett’s esophagus is a tricky condition to diagnose and treat, which is why you need to consult the best in the field at Advanced Surgical & Bariatrics of NJ, PA. Experience and training prepare these Barrett’s esophagus doctors to provide the most accurate diagnosis and the most effective treatment. They know what to look for and how your risk factors contribute to the possibility that you’ve developed the condition. Call for a consultation in northern New Jersey, southern New York or eastern Pennsylvania.
Barrett’s esophagus is a condition where the tissue of the esophageal lining begins to resemble the small intestine — oval and bumpy. It usually occurs in people who’ve suffered from long-term gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also referred to as acid reflux. While the majority of patients with Barrett’s esophagus won’t develop cancer, the tissue can degenerate into pre-cancerous cells called dysplasia. Fortunately, these pre-cancerous cells respond well to treatment, as long as they’re caught in time.
If you’re suffering from long-term acid reflux disease, you need an expert examination. Advanced Surgical & Bariatrics of NJ, PA (ASBNJ) has some of the best Barrett’s esophagus doctors in New Jersey. The longer you wait, the worse your condition is likely to become. So don’t hesitate to make your appointment for a consultation.
Causes of Barrett’s Esophagus
Despite extensive research, scientists have yet to pin down the exact cause of Barrett’s esophagus. Not everyone who suffers from long-term GERD develops the condition. Some people who get Barrett’s esophagus have never suffered from heartburn or acid reflux.
The preponderance of evidence suggests that stomach acid causes long-term damage to the esophageal lining. When your body tries to heal itself, a cellular change takes place. The result is the abnormal esophageal condition.
Barrett’s Esophagus Risk Factors
While Barrett’s esophagus can occur in anyone, certain factors make you more susceptible to the disease. Some of the most prominent include:
- Long-term acid reflux disease that requires proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medicine or doesn’t respond to this treatment is a common precursor to Barrett’s.
- Males tend to suffer disproportionately from the disease.
- While it can occur at any age, Barrett’s esophagus appears more often in those of advancing years.
- It tends to afflict whites more than others.
- Excessive fat around the abdomen increases your risk.
- Whether chewed or smoked, tobacco use is associated with a higher risk of developing the disease.
Barrett’s Esophagus Symptoms
The tissue change associated with Barrett’s esophagus won’t cause any noticeable symptoms by itself. It’s the GERD symptoms you and your doctor need to watch, which include:
- Recurring heartburn
- Trouble swallowing
- Possible chest pain
Seek immediate attention if you experience:
- Swallowing difficulty
- Vomiting blood
- Passing black, tarry stools
- Feeling chest pain, a possible precursor to a heart attack
In some cases, you can have Barrett’s esophagus and not experience any symptoms. If you have any of the risk factors or you’ve suffered from GERD for more than five years, ask your doctor if you’re at risk of developing Barrett’s esophagus. The experts at Advanced Surgical & Bariatrics of NJ, PA determine quickly if you’ve developed any signs of the condition.
Barret’s Esophagus Diagnosis
Barrett’s esophagus doctors use a long flexible tube with a light and camera on it called an endoscope to examine your esophagus. During the endoscopy, your doctor removes a tissue sample for testing and submits it to a pathologist for confirmation.
The pathologist studies your sample to determine whether or not your sample contains dysplasia. If there’s no dysplasia present, your doctor can focus on treating your GERD and perform periodic endoscopies. If the results are positive, the next question is to what extent. Advanced cases may be nearer to turning cancerous.
Barrett’s Esophagus Treatment
If the sample shows low-grade dysplasia, your doctor may perform an endoscopic resection. In this procedure, damaged cells are removed with an endoscope. Your Barrett’s esophagus specialist may also try radiofrequency ablation, which uses heat to remove the damaged cells. This procedure can be performed on its own or following an endoscopic resection.
High-grade dysplasia can lead to esophageal cancer. If your dysplasia is advanced or the previous treatments were unsuccessful, your doctor may recommend:
- Your doctor tries to destroy the damaged cells by applying a cold liquid or gas.
- Photodynamic therapy. Your doctor applies medicine to your dysplasia that reacts to a specific wavelength of light to produce enough oxygen to kill the diseased cells.
- Barrett’s esophagus surgery. Your doctor removes the diseased portion of your esophagus and connects the remainder to your stomach.
Visit Your NJ Barrett’s Esophagus Doctors Early
While no foolproof Barrett’s esophagus cure yet exists, state-of-the-art treatments have proven safe and effective. The doctors at ASBNJ work on acid reflux issues extensively. They’re poised to provide the best treatment for Barrett’s esophagus.
If you’ve been suffering from GERD symptoms for an extended period, it’s time to consult a specialist. The medical team at Advanced Surgical & Bariatrics of NJ, PA, is committed to continuing your education of the condition while keeping abreast of the latest treatment techniques. Don’t wait; contact ASBNJ today.