ENDOSCOPIC MUCOSAL RESECTION (EMR)
Gastrointestinal endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) is a procedure used to cut out cancerous and abnormal tissue from the digestive tract. EMR uses an endoscope to remove lesions in the mucosa (the mucous tissue that lines the digestive tract).
First, the endoscope will be inserted through the patient’s throat and guided to the affected area. Then, the doctor will inject a solution into the affected tissue in order to raise the lesion above the healthy muscle tissue. Specialized surgical tools are inserted through the hollow tube, allowing the doctor to cut off layers of unhealthy tissue.
Sedatives and pain medication will be recommended as needed.
An EMR can also aid in diagnosis of Barrett’s esophagus and determining the stage of the tissue damage.
Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive endoscopic treatment for abnormal tissue such as Barrett’s esophagus. The tissue is exposed to heat energy and destroyed.
After the gastroenterologist guides the endoscope to the affected area, high-frequency energy is delivered to the abnormal tissue through an electrode that’s attached to an endoscope. The tissue then separates from the healthy tissue over the next 48 – 72 hours. In the following few weeks, healthy tissue replaces the old, damaged tissue.
The doctor may recommend a temporarily modified diet in order for the healthy tissue to grow back properly. RFA is an outpatient procedure, with multiple follow up procedures in order to re-treat affected areas and monitor the healing process.
Cryotherapy is a treatment that freezes and destroys abnormal tissue. Cryotherapy uses an endoscope, inserted through the patient’s mouth, to spray low-pressure liquid nitrogen or carbon dioxide to coat and freeze the abnormal tissue. The extreme cold destroys the malignant tissue.
The doctor may recommend a temporarily modified diet in order for the healthy tissue to grow properly. Cryotherapy is an outpatient procedure, but follow-up endoscopies within the following months will be necessary to monitor the tissue’s healing process.
Stent placement is a procedure that uses endoscopy to insert a hollow tube inside the digestive tract. Stents are used to prevent collapse of organs or to open barriers caused by tumors or narrowing ducts between organs, such as the esophagus and bile ducts.
Stents can be used before surgery in order to relieve symptoms. Sometimes, if surgery is not an option for an individual patient, stents can be used for long-term relief.