Common Questions

What is the WATS3D?

WATS3D is a method of sampling the esophagus and analyzing the sample that has been demonstrated to sharply increase the detection of pre-cancer of the esophagus. Doctors use WATS3D to collect, through minimally invasive procedures, a robust tissue sample that is then subjected to specialized, 3D computer-assisted laboratory analysis.

How does the WATS3D Biopsy work?

WATS3D has two components that work together to help physicians detect pre-cancer of the esophagus.

The first part is a special brush that allows WATS3D Biopsy to collect a better tissue sample than standard methods. Because it samples a wider area and targets only the layer of the esophagus where dangerous cells develop, WATS3D helps lower the chances of missing pre-cancer.

The second part is a powerful computer imaging system that is based on an algorithm developed as part of the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative missile defense program. WATS3D labs are equipped with a special neural network which is able to virtually see the whole sample by combining over 100 optical slices to form a single 3-dimensional image. This unique view of the cells’ original structure provides crucial information to help doctors rule out the presence of unhealthy cells earlier and with greater accuracy. A specially trained expert pathologist then reviews images of the cells and informs the physician if precancerous cells are found.

How is WATS3D different from a standard biopsy?

Standard biopsies are cut in thin layers in order to be read by a manual microscope. This means that potentially important diagnostic information which is only found on the intact surface of the sample is missed entirely. WATS3D labs are equipped with a special neural network which is able to virtually see the whole sample by combining over 100 optical slices to form a single 3-dimensional image. This unique view of the cells’ original structure provides crucial information to help doctors rule out the presence of unhealthy cells earlier and with greater accuracy.

I experience frequent heartburn - is WATS3D right for me?

The best way to determine if you are an appropriate candidate for a WATS3D is to speak with your doctor. Your doctor will assess your symptoms and evaluate a range of factors to determine if  WATS3D is right for you.

I have already had a procedure to treat my Barrett’s esophagus. Why would I need WATS3D if I have already been diagnosed and treated?

Even if you have had a procedure to treat your condition, you may still be at risk. Your doctor may conduct surveillance endoscopies to ensure that the precancerous cells in your esophagus are gone and are not coming back.  WATS3D is very effective in detecting remaining or recurring precancerous cells in patients who have already undergone a procedure for Barrett’s esophagus.

How long is the WATS3D procedure?

WATS3D adds less than 5 minutes to a standard endoscopy, so it will have little, if any noticeable impact on the procedure time.

How long does it take to get the results back?

Typically, the results are delivered to your doctor within 4 to 5 days of receipt of the sample in the lab.

What are the risks associated with WATS3D?

In clinical trials, WATS3D has been found to be both safe and effective, but all medical procedures carry some risks. The best way to evaluate the benefits and risks of a procedure like WATS3D is to speak with your doctor.

How many patients has WATS3D been performed on?

Over 50,000 WATS3D tests have been performed in the esophagus by gastroenterologists and thoracic surgeons, and over 500,000 tests have been performed in the oral cavity by otolaryngologists, oral surgeons, periodontists, and dentists using the WATS3D technology platform.

How much does the WATS3D biopsy cost? Is it covered by insurance?

If you have questions regarding any laboratory billing matter, there is no need to contact your doctor’s office. Please instead contact WATS3D Client Services directly at 877-490-2455.

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.

Once again, please refer any billing questions to Client Services at 877-490-2455.