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General enquiries:
+44 (0)207 935 4444
Book an appointment:
+44 (0)207 616 7693
Self-pay enquiry:
+44 (0)203 219 3315

HALO radiofrequency ablation treatment uses high frequency radio waves to destroy cancerous or damaged cells and is carried out during a standard endoscopy. This is usually done under sedation or with a light general anaesthetic, and takes less than an hour.

What is HALO radiofrequency ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation it involves introducing high frequency radio waves directly into a small area of tissue to destroy, or ablate it. It is used to treat several types of cancer and other precancerous conditions.

The HALO technique has been developed specifically to destroy the abnormal Barrett’s oesophagus cells in the lining of the oesophagus. These cells look different so they can be easily recognised in an endoscopy examination.

The HALO technique is also carried out by endoscopy. A small balloon is introduced into the area of abnormal cells and high intensity radio waves are passed through it. This causes intense heating, but only in the region very near to the surface of the balloon. The abnormal cells are killed, but the normal non-Barrett’s cells nearby are left unharmed. After treatment, not only are the precancerous cells (dysplasia) removed, but the entire Barrett’s oesophagus segment is removed as well. 

Treatment is performed on a day case basis and most patients do not need to remain in The London Clinic overnight. Most patients require two or three treatments over a period of a few months, though a small number may need more.

Sometimes, HALO radiofrequency ablation needs to be combined with Endoscopic Mucosal Resection (EMR)if the surgeon sees visible nodules (swellings) in the lining of the oesophagus.

Recovering from HALO radiofrequency ablation

You will usually experience a little chest discomfort and difficulty swallowing for a week or so and you may feel nauseous for a few days. Some people also experience rare side effects:

  • difficulties swallowing
  • One in 15 patients can be left with a stricture or narrowing of the oesophagus after treatment, but can treated in another endoscopy procedure.

Patients with Barrett's oesophagus should continue to take their standard acid suppressing medicine after treatment, to prevent symptoms of acid reflux. Even if your HALO treatment seems to have been very successful, it is sensible for you to carry on attending your regular check-up appointments as you would if you had not had HALO.

HALO success rates

Once you have developed high-grade dysplasia in your oesophagus, your risk of developing oesophageal cancer in the next 5 years is around 50%..

Removing the abnormal cells cuts the risk of the cells becoming cancerous. Data from following patients with high-grade dysplasia for 2 years after their HALO treatment shows that all of the abnormal oesophageal cells were completely removed in around 80% of cases. Data from patients with low-grade dysplasia showed that all abnormal cells were successfully eradicated in 90% of patients.


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Facilitating acute admissions into The London Clinic whilst maintaining the highest levels of safety and care, supported by a consultant on-call rota.

Concierge service

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We can support our patients with travel, hotel accommodation, London tours, plus theatre and restaurant reservations.

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Main numbers

General enquiries: 020 7935 4444Appointments: 020 7616 7693Self-pay: 020 3219 3315

Other numbers

Concierge service: 020 3219 3323International office: 020 3 219 3266Invoice and payment enquiries: 020 7616 7708

Your call may be recorded for training and monitoring purposes.

Medical service numbers

Breast services appointments: 020 7616 7653 Diagnostics appointments: 020 7616 7653 Endoscopy appointments: 020 7616 7760 Eye centre appointments: 020 7616 7768 Haematology appointments: 020 7535 5503 Kidney services appointments: 020 7224 5234 Liver services appointments: 020 7616 7719 Physiotherapy appointments: 020 7616 7651 Radiology appointments: 020 7616 7653

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