Submucosal lesions are growths that are found under the body’s mucosal layer. In many cases, they do not cause symptoms, so they are discovered accidentally when a doctor is performing an endoscopy for another reason.
There are several types of submucosal lesions. One type is a gastrointestinal stromal tumor, which is usually found in the stomach or small intestine. Leiomyomas are benign tumors typically located in the distal portion of the esophagus, and lipomas are benign, fatty tumors located anywhere within the gastrointestinal tract. There are other rare forms of submucosal lesions, such as granular cell tumors, typically found in the esophagus or oropharynx or duplication cysts, which are rare birth defects usually occurring in the colon, ileum, or esophagus.
Are submucosal lesions cancerous?
While submucosal lesions are often benign or non-cancerous, some of them can become malignant. For example, about 10 percent of gastrointestinal stromal tumors are cancerous. Granular cell tumors can also be malignant.
Are submucosal lesions painful?
In many cases, submucosal lesions are asymptomatic, meaning they do not cause noticeable symptoms. While this is true, submucosal lesions can occasionally cause unpleasant symptoms, especially if they are large.
How are submucosal lesions treated?
Treatment depends upon the type of lesion and whether it is cancerous or causing symptoms. Small lesions and those that are asymptomatic typically do not require treatment, but a doctor may monitor them for complications. If a submucosal lesion is causing painful symptoms, a doctor may surgically remove them. Surgical resection or excision or fine needle aspiration are treatment options for problematic submucosal lesions. Surgical resection is typically the treatment of choice for cancerous lesions.
- “I had abdominal pain and suffered from bowel obstruction with a gastrointestinal stromal tumor.”
- “I had stomach pain along with vomiting and difficulty swallowing.”
- “I experienced stomach pain along with bouts of diarrhea.”