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Esophageal Radiofrequency Ablation

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 2, 2022.

What is esophageal radiofrequency ablation?

Esophageal radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a procedure to remove abnormal tissue from your esophagus. Abnormal tissue occurs when stomach acid from GERD changes the tissue of your esophagus. RFA reduces your risk of developing esophageal cancer. RFA can also be done after esophageal mucosal resection.

How do I prepare for esophageal RFA?

Your healthcare provider will increase your medicine for GERD up to 1 month before the procedure. This will help heal any irritation or ulcers in your esophagus. Do not take NSAIDs, antiplatelets, or anticoagulants for 7 days before your procedure. These medicines will cause you to bleed more after your procedure. Ask your healthcare provider what medicines to take before your procedure.

What will happen during esophageal RFA?

You will be given medicine to keep you numb, calm, and relaxed. You will not feel anything or remember the procedure. Your healthcare provider will place an endoscope in your mouth and lower it into your esophagus. A catheter with an electrode will be placed into your esophagus. The electrode removes the damaged tissue using heat energy. A balloon catheter may be used if there is a large amount of abnormal tissue. This will be repeated to make sure the abnormal tissue is removed.

What are the risks of esophageal RFA?

You may have chest pain and trouble swallowing after the procedure. You may have bleeding in your esophagus or stomach. Symptoms may return even with treatment.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.