What is a HALO Procedure?
A HALO radiofrequency ablation procedure is a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure used to treat patients with Barrett’s Esophagus with dysplasia. Barrett’s Esophagus is a change in the type of esophageal tissue that regrows in place of esophageal tissue that is damaged by acid reflux. Not everyone that has reflux symptoms has Barrett’s Esophagus; however, if one develops Barrett’s Esophagus there is a chance of developing esophageal cancer. This depends on the degree of progression of the underlying Barrett’s Esophagus – low grade dysplasia vs. high grade dysplasia.
Leaving Barrett’s Esophagus with dysplasia untreated can increase your risk for developing esophageal cancer later in life. The HALO procedure is strongly recommended in the case of Barrett’s Esophagus because of its 98.4% success rate in removing the diseased tissues and at a 5-year follow up, 92% of patients remained disease-free.
In this procedure, directed and controlled heat energy is used to eliminate the damaged esophageal tissue that results in Barrett’s Esophagus while leaving the healthy tissues undamaged. New, healthier tissue grows back in place of the removed damaged tissues. The length of the Barrett’s Esophagus segment and each individual’s response to the radiofrequency ablation will determine how many treatments will be needed (on average 3-5 treatments for a long segment).
Before the HALO procedure, you will be asked to not eat or drink anything. If treating a short segment of Barrett’s Esophagus, the HALO procedure lasts around 30 minutes to ablate the diseased tissue through heat energy that emits from a device that is attached to or passed through the endoscope. If a longer segment is present, the HALO device is advanced into the esophagus and the same time of controlled and directed heat treatment is applied with the scope along side the device. Since it is a minimally invasive procedure, the patient will be under monitored anesthesia care throughout the process. No incisions are made.
There are very few limitations to consider post-procedure. Although you will not be impaired from the procedure, you will need someone to take you home and you are advised to take the day off from work. You should not operate heavy machinery, including driving. You may notice some soreness over the next few days, but you can return to your normal daily activities the day after the HALO procedure. Try to eat softer foods for about a week after your procedure.
HALO Procedure Side Effects
Although the HALO procedure is considered very safe and minimally invasive, there are risks associated with any procedure. Patients may experience the following HALO side effects:
- Chest discomfort
- Sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing for a few days
- Can provide medication
- Mucosal laceration or perforation
- Narrowing of the esophagus (rare)
- Minor acute bleeding
If the pain persists, your doctor can prescribe a medication to relieve the pain post-procedure. However, it is unlikely that you will experience much pain besides soreness in your throat.
Do you have symptoms of acid reflux? Contact us today to set up an appointment with one of our physicians for a consultation.