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Endoscopic Mucosal Resection

Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) is a technique used to remove abnormal tissue, polyps and growths from the digestive tract. Successful EMR procedures often eliminate the need for surgery. EMR involves passage of the endoscope toward the affected area. Then, a device at the end of the endoscope allows removal of the abnormal tissue with cautery techniques. This tissue is then sent for pathology analysis. This technique can remove many lesions that previously required surgery to address.

Endoscopic Mucosal Resection

What to Expect

When you arrive, the nurses will review your medical records and medications, your vitals will be taken and an IV will be started so sedatives can be administered. Once you’ve been sedated, the doctor will place an endoscope through either your mouth or anus, depending on where the abnormal tissue is located. The high-definition endoscope will send the images to a screen. If there is a tumor, the endoscope will be used to apply suction to the tumor to lift it up and away from surrounding tissues. Then, a thin wire will be fed through the endoscope and placed around the base of the tumor. The tumor will be cut using an electrical current sent through the wire. It will seal the cut simultaneously. The tumor will then be suctioned out, removed through the endoscope and sent for pathology analysis. You will be monitored in a recovery room until your vitals are stable, you can tolerate oral liquids and your pain and nausea are controlled.

The doctor will give you specific instructions before the EMR. You will need to fast for the day of the procedure, and your physician may alter some of your medications. If the procedure is for a tumor in the colon, you will be prescribed a laxative prior to the procedure.

Following the EMR, you will be taken to a recovery room. You will be there until your vitals are stable, you can tolerate oral liquids and your pain and nausea are controlled. If the EMR was performed in the esophagus, the doctor may ask you to restrict yourself to a liquid diet for one to two days following the procedure. You may also get a prescription medication that will coat the esophagus to relieve discomfort and aid in healing. In some instances, complete removal of the diseased tissue may require multiple endoscopies.

The EMR procedure is very safe. It is unlikely to experience any adverse side effects. However, rarely, perforation of the gastrointestinal tract lining may occur. You’ll be given discharge papers with instructions to contact your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms such as blood in your stool, black stool, stomach pain, chest pain, fever, vomiting, chills, or shortness of breath.

The removed tissues will be sent to a lab to determine if they were cancerous or benign. This type of test can take a few days to return. Your doctor will keep you informed on what was found during the EMR and instruct you on any treatment plan that is needed.

You will need an adult who can drive you home safely following the procedure. Since you are sedated for the EMR, your reflexes may be slowed and your judgment altered. You will be instructed to refrain from driving for the rest of the day. It’s a good idea to have someone stay with you overnight.

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