Aspirus Iron River now offering advanced treatment for potentially serious complication of acid reflux

A new procedure is available at Aspirus Iron River Hospital & Clinics to help those who suffer from Barrett’s esophagus, a potentially serious complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), commonly called acid reflux.

A person with Barrett’s esophagus experiences a change in the lining of the esophagus – the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. This makes the tissue of the esophagus more like stomach tissue. People with the condition have an increased risk of developing esophageal cancer.

Medhat Fanous, MD, general surgeon, is now performing radiofrequency ablation (RFA), which uses radio waves to gently remove potentially precancerous tissue and help keep Barrett’s esophagus from progressing to cancer.

“The medical community did a good job reducing colon cancer by performing screening colonoscopy. This was not replicated with esophageal cancer, which has an overall survival rate of less than 15 percent,” Dr. Fanous said. “RFA can prevent the progression of Barrett’s esophagus to esophageal cancer in the appropriate setting.”

The new RFA procedure is a great alternative to ‘watchful waiting’ for patients who suffer from Barrett’s.

During the procedure, an endoscope (a thin, flexible fiberoptic tube attached to an image-and-video-capture device) is inserted down the throat and into the esophagus. Radiofrequency energy is then used to remove diseased tissue while minimizing injury to healthy esophageal tissue. This procedure has been shown to reduce the risk of Barrett’s with a low-grade dysplasia – a precancerous condition that causes abnormal cell growth in the esophagus – by approximately 90 percent.

The RFA procedure Dr. Fanous is now performing at Aspirus Iron River Hospital uses the BARRX system, which is designed to treat gastrointestinal (GI) tract diseases, increase procedural efficiency and meet the unique needs of each patient.

The Aspirus Iron River surgical services team was featured in the Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons for establishing a comprehensive rural GERD center that has cared for over 950 patients from the Upper Peninsula and beyond Michigan’s borders. The surgical services team offers a wide range of diagnostics and interventional procedures including transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF 2.0 Procedure), hiatal hernia repair, Toupet fundoplication, Stretta and pyloroplasty.

For more health information, tune into Dr. Fanous’s podcast about Acid Reflux Disease.

For more information, call 906-265-6121 or visit