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Clinical Updates

Digestive Diseases

UCLA offers advanced ablation for Barrett’s esophagus


The UCLA Center for Esophageal Disorders now offers the most advanced and effective ablation technique available for treating high-grade and multifocal low-grade dysplasia associated with Barrett’s esophagus.

The treatment uses a series of balloons to first measure the esophagus and treatment area, and then destroy the Barrett’s tissue. After sizing, diseased tissue is ablated by sequentially inflating balloons “painted” with electrodes that apply a rapid burst of energy to remove a very thin layer of Barrett’s mucosa. Healthy esophageal tissue typically replaces the destroyed Barrett’s tissue in three to four weeks.

Administered during a single outpatient visit, the incision-free procedure is performed under conscious sedation and takes about 45 minutes. Patients typically can return to work the next day. They may experience a mild burning sensation at the treatment area for two or three days after the procedure, but most discomfort can be controlled with medication. Patients return for a follow-up exam in about two months. Additional treatment with an ablation wand can obliterate any residual spots during the follow-up.

The sizing and fixed energy capabilities of the balloon system allow for more controlled and uniform destruction of diseased tissue than other ablation procedures while preserving healthy underlying and neighboring tissues, reducing or eliminating complications and side effects common to other techniques.

Barrett’s esophagus occurs when abnormal growth of intestinal-like cells form in the lining of the esophagus of some patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. The growth of these cells may be the forerunner of adenocarcinoma, a rare but virulent cancer.

 Barrett’s esophagus occurs across all demographics, but is most common in Caucasian males over age 50 with chronic GERD, occurring in up to 13 percent of this population. Patients at high risk of the disorder should receive routine endoscopic examinations and tissue sampling of the esophagus.

The UCLA Center for Esophageal Disorders

The physicians, nurses and technicians at the UCLA Center for Esophageal Disorders are dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of benign and malignant esophageal disorders, including GERD, achalasia, scleroderma, leiomyoma, Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer.

Innovative surgical procedures, state-of-the-art equipment and techniques and the latest medical treatments and clinical trials are all available at this comprehensive center. Informative discussions and support groups are held on a monthly basis, allowing patients, physicians and staff to interact and gain a better understanding of specific esophageal disorders.



Bennett Roth, M.D.
Professor of Medicine
Medical Director, UCLA Center for Esophageal Disorders
Director, Digestive Diseases/Gastroenterology, Gastroenterology Procedures Unit

James Farrell, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine

Thomas Kovacs, M.D.
Professor of Medicine

Wilfred Weinstein, M.D.
Professor of Medicine


Mary Maish, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Surgical Director, UCLA Center for Esophageal Disorders

Joe Hines, M.D.
Associate Professor of Surgery

Patient referral

For more information or to refer a patient to the UCLA Center for Esophageal Disorders, please call (310) 825-6167 or fax (310) 794-9718.

For more information, please visit http://www.esophagealcenter.ucla.edu/

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