Under normal conditions, the esophagus has a pink lining. When the valve at the top of the stomach (called the lower esphageal sphincter) doesn't close properly, digestive juices can back up into the esophagus causing heartburn and inflammation. Over time, this reflux of gastric juices can cause the esophagus lining to become red, like the lining of the stomach. A change in the cell type may occur; this is called Barrett's esophagus.
Barrett's esophagus increases the risk of developing cancer of the esophagus. Some patients with Barrett's esophagus may benefit from a newer technology called the HALO Ablation of Barrett's esophagus. The HALO system is designed to remove the Barrett's epithelium (tissue) in a short, well-tolerated endoscopic procedure, which results in reducing the incidence of esophageal cancer.
The procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis. The patient is sedated and the exam usually takes 15–60 minutes. Most patients do not recall the actual procedure. After the procedure, patients will go to a recovery area for monitoring of their vital signs until they are fully awake. Complications associated with the HALO procedure are rare, but include narrowing of the esophagus (called stricture), which is amenable to endoscopic correction.
It is normal after HALO to have a sore throat for a few days. Your physician will send you home with a few prescriptions to ease discomfort.