Barrett’s disease, commonly referred to as Barrett’s esophagus, is a potentially dangerous condition stemming from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The condition is especially concerning as it increases the patient’s risk of developing esophageal cancer. Early diagnosis and continued monitoring of the condition are vital in the treatment of Barrett’s disease. Through continued monitoring, precancerous cells can be detected before the cells have spread. Early diagnosis and treatment of Barrett’s disease allows for the condition to be treated in the least invasive way possible and can dramatically reduce a patient’s risk of developing esophageal cancer. Bariatric surgeon’s team specialize in weight loss surgery and the surgical treatment of GERD. At the Orange County treatment center Lite & Smart Dimensions™, Barrett’s disease may be prevented through the treatment of GERD.

Preventing Barrett’s Disease

In Barrett’s disease, the cells of the lower esophagus become damaged. As a result of this damage, changes to the esophagus occur. The changes and damage to the esophagus typically stems from the repeated exposure of acid reflux. While Barrett’s disease can occur in patients that do not suffer from heartburn or frequent acid reflux, most patients suffering from the condition experience chronic long-term GERD. One of the ways in which Barrett’s disease may be prevented is by controlling acid reflux in the patient. In many cases, the treatment of GERD is effective in the prevention of Barrett’s disease. GERD may be improved by making changes in one’s diet and by losing weight. Medications to control acid reflux may also be prescribed to treat GERD. One of the most effective GERD treatment options is surgery. The surgical treatment of GERD is highly effective for many patients.

Treating Barrett’s Disease

Continued monitoring is strongly recommended in cases of Barrett’s disease. For some patients, the treatment of GERD may be sufficient in managing Barrett’s disease. In more severe cases of Barrett’s disease, surgery or other treatments may be recommended, including:

  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT): In photodynamic therapy, damaged esophageal cells are destroyed. During PDT, medication is used to make damaged esophageal cells sensitive to light. Using an endoscope, the surgeon guides a light into the esophagus. The combination of the light and medication causes the damaged esophageal cells to die.
  • Endoscopic mucosal resection: An endoscope allows a surgeon to remove damaged esophageal cells. During the endoscopic mucosal resection procedure, superficial layers of the esophagus along with damaged esophageal cells are cut away and removed.
  • Removing the esophagus: In cases where precancerous or cancerous cells are present, surgery to remove a large portion of the esophagus may be recommended. During surgery, a large portion of the esophagus is removed. The area of the esophagus that remains is then attached to the stomach.

Learn More about the Prevention of Barrett’s Disease

Most patients suffering from GERD will not develop Barrett’s disease. Approximately 1 percent of patients with GERD also suffer from Barrett’s disease. While the risk of Barrett’s disease is slim, the condition should be taken seriously. Barrett’s disease does increase a patient’s risk for esophageal cancers. To learn more about Barrett’s disease prevention and treatment, or to schedule a consultation, please contact Lite & Smart Dimensions™ today.