Endoscopic Mucosal Resection
Performed to treat pre- and early-stage cancers, an endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure that removes abnormal tissue, or lesions, from the digestive tract.
Often, an EMR is used to treat Barrett’s esophagus, a complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which can increase the patient’s risk of esophageal cancer (adenocarcinoma).
While a patient is sedated, an EMR is performed using an endoscope, a thin flexible tube equipped with a lighted camera. Once the endoscope reaches the affected area, surgical tools can be passed through the tube to remove the tissue. This can be done by either injecting a solution beneath the lifted tissue, to loosen it, or by suctioning the tissue off and trapping it into a small rubber band. The growth is then cut away and retrieved for evaluation.
In some cases, the doctor will combine the EMR with treatments to remove additional tissue, such as freezing or heating (radiofrequency) ablation.
Patients should not eat or drink for up to 10 hours before this procedure. Prior to treatment, they are sedated or given general anesthesia. Following the EMR, which usually takes 25 to 30 minutes, patients might be given pain medication and advised to follow a modified diet.