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What Is an Endoscopic Resection?

Doctors use an endoscope to conduct internal examinations.
Endoscopy equipment.
An endoscope can be key in discovering, diagnosing and treating cancers of the digestive tract.
Article Details
  • Written By: Jennifer Long
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 14 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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An endoscopic resection, also referred to as an endoscopic resection mucosal resection (EMR), is a gastrointestinal procedure that is used for the purpose of removing cancerous tissue and other lesions from a part of the digestive tract. This procedure is an alternative surgery. It can be used to access both the esophagus and the colon and is often used in treating cancers of the digestive tract during the early stages.

The tool that is used for this procedure is called an endoscope, which is multi-functional. It has a light and camera so the doctor can see to navigate, and it has tools that remove or help repair the affected tissue. There are various techniques that are used to access the tumors or irregular tissue regions. Many gastroenterologists insert a saline solution into the healthy tissue just beneath the damage to raise it up and then use a hook to separate the two with minimal damage to the healthy section.

During an endoscopic resection, the long endoscope tube is inserted down the throat to reach the upper areas of the digestive tract. Through this section, tissue can be removed from the esophagus, stomach or upper region of the small intestine. If the lower section has the problematic tissue, the endoscope goes through the anus to reach the colon, large intestine or lower section of the small intestine.

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An endoscopic resection can also be used as a diagnostic aid. In some cases, tissue biopsies are necessary to properly diagnose a condition that has appeared in other imaging tests. A piece of tissue can be removed for testing without the risk of surgery. The endoscope can also help doctors determine the extent of damage and whether other areas are in danger.

The common side effects of an endoscopic resection are minimal. A sedative is used during the procedure, so slight drowsiness or nausea can occur following the procedure and recovery. If the endoscope went down the throat, soreness is likely. Gas, cramps and bloating after the procedure are common, especially if there was air pumped to provide access. These symptoms will most often disappear within 24 hours.

Blood that appears in vomit or stools or black-colored stools can suggest complications. Medical attention is necessary in those cases. Emergency care might be necessary, and is highly recommended, if chest pain, fainting, trouble breathing, fever or chills are experienced. These symptoms are extremely rare, but if they are present, medical assistance is needed to ensure that there is no permanent damage.

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Discuss this Article

serenesurface
Post 3

@turquoise-- I'm not surprised about that because EMR was developed in the 1980s in Japan as you suggested. The doctor who developed it wanted an alternative way to treat tumors of the stomach. Before EMR was available, the entire stomach was removed as is usually done with other tumorous organs as well. But of course, this is really traumatic for the patient, life is never same for them again.

So the goal was to remove tumors without removing the entire organ so that the patient would continue to have a high quality life after surgery. They accomplished this with EMR which removes tumors and possibly the inner lining of the stomach but that's all.

I'm sure EMR is going to be available at all major hospitals soon as more American doctors gain expertise in the procedure.

SteamLouis
Post 2

@turquoise-- Not just for stage one cancer, I think that an endoscopic resection should be used even if the esophagus has to be removed eventually. The reason is because an EMR lets you know much more about your tumor and how bad it is than any other endoscopy procedure.

My dad got an esophagectomy as well but he also had the EMR procedure before. The doctor showed him the results and how far the tumor had gotten. My dad was convinced of the doctor's decision to have the esophagus removed. If he hadn't gotten an EMR, he might have always wondered if this surgery was really necessary.

So I personally think that any patient with a tumor in the esophagus or other organ should be given the choice of having an EMR. Maybe it should be done regardless so that the state of the tumor can best be understood before treatment.

turquoise
Post 1

I have heard so much about this procedure, mainly because it was not used in the US until recently. My wife was diagnosed with esophageal cancer seven years ago and she had her esophagus removed despite the cancer being at stage one. It has been difficult for her since the surgery, she's okay now but we do wish that she had the option of getting an EMR.

I know that quite a few doctors and hospitals provide this procedure now, but it was not available until pretty recently. In fact, I believe most of the American doctors who use the procedure have learned it from Japanese doctors who have been using EMR much before we have.

This is definitely great news for esophageal tumor patients that are at stage one.

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