Barrett’s esophagus is a complication that often occurs with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In individuals with Barrett’s esophagus, the tube food uses to travel from the mouth to the stomach has an irregular lining. The normal lining of the esophagus changes into tissue similar to the intestinal lining. These changes themselves do not produce any noticeable symptoms. However, symptoms that commonly occur with GERD include problems with swallowing, chest pain, and frequent heartburn. The primary concern for Barrett’s esophagus patients is the increased risk for developing a type of cancer called esophageal adenocarcinoma. It is imperative for affected individuals to have routine exams of the esophageal cells, as this precaution makes it easier to discover any precancerous cells at an early stage when they are easier to treat. Treatment focuses on controlling GERD symptoms to slow the progression of Barrett’s esophagus.
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Endoscopic resection is a method used to remove early-stage cancer cells and precancerous cells from the digestive tract lining. This option is an ideal alternative to traditional surgery that is sometimes used to remove precancerous and cancerous growths in the digestive tract lining. The reason for this is because endoscopic resection is considerably less invasive and less risky. This procedure is helpful for patients with Barrett’s esophagus because it allows for any concerning tissues to be removed from the abnormal esophageal lining. It is imperative that these tissues are immediately extracted to stop the progression of cancerous or precancerous growths in the esophagus lining. The procedure is performed using an endoscope or a long thin flexible tube with a video camera and a light on the end of it. The surgeon inserts the endoscope into the individual’s mouth, down their throat, and into their esophagus. Once located, the area of concern is carefully removed by maneuvering specialized instruments through the tube. Usually, medication is used to sedate the patient, and a numbing solution is used to ensure that they do not feel any pain or discomfort during the endoscopic resection. Most patients can return to their normal activities the next day.
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