Endoscopic surveillance is recommended for patients with Barrett's esophagus to detect high-grade dysplasia (HGD) or cancer. We studied the outcome of esophagectomy in a cohort of patients who developed HGD or cancer between 1995 and 2003 while under surveillance for Barrett's. Outcomes were measured by analysis of clinical records, symptom questionnaire, and SF-36 (version 2). In 34 patients, mean surveillance time was 48 months (range, 4-132); the mean number of endoscopies was 10 (range, 3-30). Preoperative diagnosis was HGD in 9 patients (26.5%), carcinoma in situ in 16 (47%), and adenocarcinoma in 9 (26.5%). There was no esophagectomy-related mortality; 10 patients (29%) had complications. At mean follow-up of 46 months (range, 13-108), SF-36 (version 2) results showed quality of life scores equal to or better than those of healthy individuals. Incidence and severity scores (VAS 1-10) for postoperative symptoms were reflux, 59% (2.8); dysphagia, 28% (3.7); bloating, 45% (2.6); nausea, 28% (2.1); and diarrhea, 55% (2.5). Twenty-nine patients (85%) have no clinical, radiographic, or endoscopic evidence of recurrent esophageal cancer or metastasis. One patient has metastatic disease. Endoscopic surveillance in Barrett's patients yields malignant lesions at an early, generally curable, stage. Esophagectomy is curative in the great majority and can be accomplished with minimal mortality and excellent quality of life.