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Treatment Options for Dysplasia

In cases where dysplasia has been confirmed, there are several surgical and non-surgical options that may be utilized.


There is no true cure for Barrett's esophagus other than surgery, though this is rare and typically recommended in situations where the condition is likely to lead to cancer. In this case, surgery may be used to remove a portion of the esophagus in a procedure known as an esophagectomy. As one of only a few academic-level programs in Southern California that provides complex surgery for esophageal disease, Hoag remains the highest volume provider with patient outcomes that rival national figures.

Non-Surgical Options

Though there is no definitive cure for Barrett's other than surgery, there are several effective non-surgical treatments, including:

  • Endoscopic Mucosal Resection (EMR) is a minimally invasive procedure that uses an endoscope to remove part of the Barrett's lining. During the procedure, special surgical tools are passed through the tube, which allow the physician to remove the superficial layers of the esophagus with damaged cells. Unlike an esophagectomy, which removes the entire affected area, an EMR only removes a small cancer or locally high-grade area of abnormal cells.
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT) utilizes a special medication that makes the damaged cells in the esophagus sensitive to light. A non-heat producing laser light is passed down the esophagus and directed onto the abnormal cells. The laser light reacts with the medication in the cells, causing the abnormal tissue to be destroyed by a photochemical reaction.
  • Radiofrequency ablation uses radio waves to kill precancerous and cancerous cells. An electrode mounted on a balloon or endoscope delivers heat energy to the esophogus in order to destroy the damaged esophageal tissue. Clinical trials have shown a lower incidence of side effects for radiofrequency ablation compared with photodynamic therapy.
  • Cryotherapy involves using an endoscope to apply a cold liquid or gas to the abnormal cells in the esophagus. The cells are allowed to warm up and then are frozen again. The cycle of freezing and thawing destroys the damaged esophageal cells.

It’s important to note that for treatments other than surgery, there's a chance that Barrett's esophagus can recur. For this reason, it is recommended that patients continuing to take acid-reducing medications and having periodic follow-up endoscopy exams, as directed by their physician to monitor any changes in esophageal cells that may be taking place.

The Most Advanced Treatment Options Are Now Available in Orange County!

When it comes to seeking out the most advanced, academic-level gastroesophageal care, there is no longer any need to travel long distances. The Hoag Digestive Disease Center, in alliance with USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, offers the latest in state-of-the-art diagnosis and leading-edge treatment options that may not be readily available at other centers, including participation in clinical trials that helps to bring advanced care to even more patients.

Perhaps the most distinguishing aspect of Hoag’s advanced treatment of gastroesophageal conditions is that in each and every case, treatment is always specifically tailored to the meet the unique needs of the individual patient.

Expert Care You Can Trust!

The Hoag Digestive Disease Center, in alliance with USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, continues to lead the way in complex gastroesophageal care, providing access to a highly specialized surgical team that works collaboratively with Hoag-affiliated gastroenterologists and medical oncology specialists to provide academic-level care. Hoag’s committed to accurate diagnosis, combined with progressive therapeutic options enables Hoag patients to achieve some of the highest clinical outcomes in the nation.‚Äč

To schedule a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation, or a second-opinion consultation with a Hoag gastroesophageal expert, visit Meet the Team, or call us at: 877-775-0604.