Barretts Esophagus

Barrett's esophagus treatment

City of Hope is one of only a few programs in the nation dedicated to Barrett’s esophagus. The board-certified gastroenterologists and specialized nurses at City of Hope will work with you to develop a treatment plan that meets your needs.

We offer support for lifestyle changes, medications and minimally invasive procedures to treat abnormal tissue. These strategies may help open the esophagus, ease symptoms and remove precancerous cells.

Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) is now City of Hope®, joining forces to expand patient access to personalized, comprehensive cancer care.

Medications for Barrett's esophagus

If Barrett’s esophagus causes discomfort or affects your ability to swallow, the experts at City of Hope may offer certain medications. These treatments are designed to help relieve symptoms and slow damage to your esophagus lining. Medications that we may prescribe include:

  • Antacids to neutralize stomach acid
  • H2 blockers to reduce acid production in the stomach
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which are stronger medications to reduce stomach acid production

Minimally invasive procedures to remove Barrett mucosa

As the City of Hope team monitors you for Barrett’s esophagus, we may find that the condition is progressing. Our experts offer advanced, minimally invasive procedures to treat portions of esophageal lining.

You may be a candidate for a procedure if:

  • We find cell changes that show signs of becoming precancerous or cancerous
  • The condition affects large portions of your esophageal lining
  • Symptoms affect your ability to eat, drink, sleep, enjoy life or remain comfortable

We’ll work with you to determine the right procedure for you, based on your symptoms, test results and treatment goals. You may need one procedure or a combination of two or more. Our procedures to treat Barrett’s esophagus include:

Radiofrequency ablation

This technique uses an endoscope, a narrow tube that has a tiny light, camera and tool that generates heat. It delivers an electrical current designed to destroy precancerous and cancerous cells in the esophageal lining. A City of Hope gastroenterologist will slide the endoscope down your throat and guide it carefully to the right area. Then, your team will apply heat to treat the problem cells.

Endoscopic mucosal resection

This technique, sometimes called EMR, takes out abnormal tissue. The team performs an endoscopy and uses a tool to lift and remove suspicious tissue.


This procedure is similar to radiofrequency ablation but uses extreme cold rather than heat to destroy tissue. The gastroenterologist will treat problem areas with liquid nitrogen during the endoscopy.

Pain management and recovery

To keep you comfortable during any Barrett’s procedure, we’ll provide intravenous sedation. We also may use endoscopic ultrasound to take pictures inside the esophagus, which helps guide the procedure and treatment plan.

Most people don’t need to stay overnight at the hospital, and recovery usually takes a few days. After recovery, your body should start to regenerate normal esophageal cells to heal the lining.

Weighing the risks of Barrett's esophagus procedures

Not everyone with Barrett’s esophagus needs a procedure for treatment. We’ll work closely with you, providing the information you need to make informed decisions about your treatment plan. Together, we’ll consider:

  • How advanced the condition is
  • How much the symptoms affect your life
  • Which potential side effects and risks you should be aware of
  • What your preferences and treatment goals are

Make an appointment with our Barrett's esophagus team

If you have GERD or other gastrointestinal symptoms, we're ready to help you. To learn more about our Barrett's esophagus care or to make an appointment, call or chat online with a member of our team.