Radiofrequency Ablation

Barrett’s esophagus is caused by acid reflux or GERD and can lead to serious health complications. MaineHealth provides radiofrequency ablation services to treat Barrett’s esophagus and remove damaged esophageal tissue.

What is radiofrequency ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation is a procedure to treat Barrett's esophagus. Doctors remove damaged and diseased tissue from the esophagus during an endoscopy.

  • Heat energy is applied to diseased tissue during endoscopy.
  • The damaged tissue is treated without hurting the healthy tissue.
  • Within two to three days, the damaged tissue is shed and replaced by healthy tissue growth.

Radiofrequency ablation can be repeated until the diseased tissue is completely gone.

Ask your doctor how many treatments you should expect to receive.

Radiofrequency ablation process

  • Doctors use a catheter to direct an endoscope down the patient’s throat.
  • Doctors attach the ablation tool to the end, which uses radio frequency and heat technology to removed damaged tissue.
  • The procedure takes about 30 minutes.

Radiofrequency ablation recovery

Ablations are done without being admitted to the hospital. After the procedure, doctors will give patients medication to help with discomfort from the endoscope. The diseased tissue should fall off after 48 to 72 hours of receiving an ablation.

  • Patients will continue treatment every eight weeks until their doctor has removed all diseased tissue.
  • Doctors will check patient progress 12 months later by performing an endoscopy and biopsy.
  • Patients will have a modified diet after their procedure.

The Maine Digestive Health Center at Maine Medical Center can provide ablation services to remove diseased tissue from Barrett’s esophagus. The Maine Digestive Health Center is the first Maine location to offer the services, giving patients the expertise of a successful, effective procedure.

Patients may experience chest and swallowing discomfort. Doctors may give patients medication to treat the discomfort. Though ablation is considered low risk, patients could have infections, narrowed esophagus or minor bleeding.