Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)

This information is useful for children, adults, and older adults
Catherine Richardson a RN with Dr. Farrell sit at a computer.

Catherine Richardson, RN, examines patient information with James Farrell, MD, a gastroenterologist. 

Credit: Robert A. Lisak

In the not too-distant past, there was little doctors could do to safely remove unwanted tissue (such as scarring or precancerous cells) from the esophagus and other organs. Such tissue is a common problem with a condition called Barrett’s esophagus, which is a complication of chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Research shows that having Barrett’s esophagus slightly raises your risk of esophageal cancer.

“Chronic acid exposure from the stomach to the esophagus causes the normal cell lining there to change,” explains Harry Aslanian, MD, Yale Medicine's associate director of endoscopy. “This puts you at a slightly higher risk of developing esophageal cancer."

Now, however, an interventional endoscopy procedure called radiofrequency ablation (RFA) vastly improves the outlook for people who suffer from Barrett’s esophagus, which has developed dysplasiq (precancerous change). RFA employs heat to burn off diseased tissue. Numerous studies have proven its safety and efficacy. At Yale Medicine, RFA is one of several highly specialized endoscopic procedures our physicians regularly perform.