Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is an endoscopy procedure in which the heat generated from high frequency alternating current is used to ablate – or burn away – tumours or other dysfunctional tissue.
All medical procedures carry some risk. The benefits of using RFA for the treatment of esophageal dysplasia or Barrett’s Esophagus is that it allows highly targeted and precise treatment of the affected area. When successful, RFA treatment can reduce the risk of progression to cancer and eliminate the need for surgery, which would remove a portion of the esophagus.
The procedure entails a catheter being inserted into the esophagus and radiofrequency energy is delivered to the diseased tissue. This outpatient procedure typically lasts from fifteen to thirty minutes. Commonly, three months after the procedure, A/Prof Pavey performs an upper endoscopic examination to assess the esophagus for residual Barrett’s esophagus. If any Barrett’s esophagus is found, the disease can be re-treated. Approximately 90% of patients in clinical trials have shown complete eradication of Barrett’s esophagus in approximately two to four treatments, with a excellent safety profile.
A/Prof Pavey has been treating Barrett’s Esophagus with radiofrequency ablation since 2004 and has successfully treated several hundred patients.