Halo Procedure (EGD with Ablation)

The Halo procedure is a type of radiofrequency ablation combined with EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy). It delivers heat to destroy abnormal tissue in the esophagus.

The endoscope (hollow tube) used in this procedure has an electrode on either side of it to deliver heat energy (radiofrequency ablation) to the part of your esophagus that needs treatment. Your doctor may recommend this treatment if you have Barrett's esophagus.

The heat delivered to your esophagus gets rid of the abnormal tissue. The heat is exact and doesn't damage healthy tissue.

The Halo procedure is performed in an outpatient setting. You don't have to have incisions or cuts. You usually need at least three Halo treatments to treat Barrett's esophagus.

Why it is Done

If you have Barrett's esophagus with dysplasia (precancerous cells), you are at risk for esophageal cancer. Your doctor may recommend a treatment such as the Halo procedure to destroy the abnormal tissue in your esophagus and prevent Barrett's esophagus from getting worse.

What to Expect

The preparation for a Halo procedure is similar to preparing for EGD (esophagagogastroduodenoscopy).

  • You may be asked to not eat before your procedure or to eat only clear liquids. You also might need to avoid certain medications before EGD. Your doctor goes over these instructions with you.
  • You may need to clean out your colon like you would do for a colonoscopy. Your doctor tells you if this is necessary.
  • EGD with Halo is an outpatient procedure. You are sedated with medication given through a needle in your arm (intravenously or IV). The medication might make you sleepy. If you feel any discomfort, it should be minimal.
  • Your doctor may numb your throat with a spray before placing the endoscope (tube) in your mouth. You lie on your back or on your side during the procedure.
  • Your doctor removes the thin layer of diseased tissue in your esophagus with heat from the electrodes on the endoscope. Your doctor looks at pictures transmitted by the camera on the endoscope on different computer screens.
  • If you have a large area of diseased tissue, it may be treated with a balloon filled with electrodes. The balloon enters your esophagus through the endoscope and is pulled back out through the endoscope afterward.
  • The ablation takes about 30 minutes, but your entire experience takes longer. Talk to your doctor about how long to expect. You are monitored for an hour or two afterward. This waiting period is normal after sedation medication. Then you can go home.
  • You can't drive yourself home after having sedation medication. Be sure to bring someone along or arrange for a ride home.
  • You might need to rest the remainder of the day because you've had a sedative. Usually, you can return to most normal activities. You might notice heartburn, a sore throat or abdominal bloating for a day or two.
  • You should eat a soft diet for a week after a Halo procedure.
  • You usually need at least three Halo treatments for the full results.

What the Risks Are

EGD with Halo is safe when performed by doctors who are well trained and experienced. Our doctors have performed thousands of EGD procedures. We take every measure to make sure you are safe and comfortable.

Complications of EGD are not common. Some people have a reaction to sedation medication or bleeding. Infection is a possibility with many procedures. Rarely, you can get a tear in the lining of your stomach or duodenum (part of your small intestine) that needs surgical repair.

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