Diagnosis & Staging of Barrett’s Esophagus
Doctors use a technique called endoscopy to diagnose Barrett’s esophagus. In this test, a gastroenterologist inserts a thin, flexible tube with a light and a camera at the tip, called an endoscope, into the throat to examine the lining of the esophagus. To minimize discomfort, patients are sedated with an anesthesia that wears off quickly once the procedure is over.
Determining the Stage & Risk for Disease
If the doctor observes signs of cell changes indicative of Barrett’s esophagus during the endoscopy, she or he will pass specially designed instruments through the endoscope to remove small samples of tissue. Our gastroenterologists are highly experienced in endoscopy and use the latest high-definition instruments to permit full assessment of the esophagus.
One of our expert pathologists will examine the biopsy under a microscope for signs of cell changes associated with the development of cancer. This information will help us to determine if the Barrett’s esophagus is at an early (non-dysplastic) or premalignant (dysplastic) stage of development or if it has become cancerous and is at risk of spreading to other areas of the body.
Database Helps Assess Risk in New Patients
Our team has created an extensive database of information from hundreds of patients who have been treated for various stages of Barrett’s esophagus. This database helps us to assess each new patient’s risk for developing esophageal cancer.