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How is heartburn related to unhealthy cells and esophageal cancer?

You are about to learn more about an advanced noninvasive procedure for some heartburn/acid reflux patients that reflects Dr. Levy’s commitment to providing you the very best protection for your health. Since 2016, Dr. Levy has been utilizing WATS3D biopsies for improved pre-cancer detection. At this time most gastroenterologists in Georgia are not offering this state of the art technology. If you have Heartburn/Acid reflux or Barrett’s Esophagus, call today to schedule an appointment. We welcome patients who would like a second opinion.


First, some background information. Heartburn, which is caused by acid reflux, is quite common. In fact, about 30 million Americans have chronic acid reflux, also known as GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). Of those, some will develop a pre-cancerous condition in the esophagus called Barrett’s Esophagus. Over time, a small percentage of Barrett’s cases will turn into esophageal cancer.


A breakthrough noninvasive endoscopic procedure can help your doctor to detect early-stage, pre-cancerous cells so they can be removed before they can turn into esophageal cancer.


Introducing WATS3D – what this advanced endoscopy and #D imaging means to you.


For patients with chronic heartburn/acid reflux symptoms, an upper endoscopy (EGD) is necessary to determine the cause of symptoms and to ensure that pre-cancerous Barrett’s esophagus has not developed.  Under sedation a thin flexible tube, equipped with a light and camera, is passed through the mouth into the esophagus, stomach and the beginning of the small bowel to examine for abnormalities.


During an endoscopy, samples of tissue are often collected to help rule out the presence of unhealthy cells. In the past, the collection of these samples was often done in a random manner from a very limited area of the esophagus. A recent scientific advance called WATS3D can help doctors collect a sample from a much larger surface area to more effectively rule out the possibility of pre-cancerous disease.


WATS3D labs are equipped with a special network which is able to see virtually the whole sample by combining over 100 optical slices into a single 3D image. Consequently, should pre-cancerous cells be present, they are now much more likely to be detected. This allows your doctor to remove or destroy cells before they become cancer and harm you – thus helping to prevent esophageal cancer, one of the fastest growing cancers in the United States. WATS3D adds less than 5 minutes to a standard endoscopy, so it will have little, if any noticeable impact on the procedure time.


Take charge of your health.


Protecting your health is an important part of who you are. If you suffer from heartburn/acid reflux, it’s time to be evaluated by not just a gastroenterologist, but a heartburn expert. Dr. Levy and his team embrace technology’s ability to dramatically improve healthcare. To go beyond what was, until now, considered possible. That’s how, together, we can help protect you from the fastest growing cancer in America. Appointments are now available in Macon and Warner Robins.


Insurance and Medicare coverage


The specialized WATS3D laboratory analysis of the tissue obtained during your endoscopy is a covered benefit under all medical insurance. You may receive an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from your insurance carrier. This should not be considered to be a bill from the laboratory.


WATS3D analysis is “in network” for Medicare and some other major insurance plans.


Outside of standard “in-network” co-pays and deductibles, you will generally not be responsible for any amount of the laboratory bill that is not directly paid by your medical insurance even if the WATS3D laboratory is not currently “in-network” for your insurance plan.


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