Endoscopic Mucosal Resection (EMR)
Endoscopy allows direct visualization of the innermost lining of the gastrointestinal tract as the endoscope passes through the hollow lumen. This inner lining is called the mucosa. Many cancers originate from the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract. Some examples include colon, esophageal and stomach cancer.
Precancerous changes and early stage cancers can be removed through an endoscope provided the cancer has not spread beyond the surface layers of the gastrointestinal lining. An important technique in removing these lesions is endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR). In this technique, a needle is passed through the endoscope and a liquid solution is injected under the area of interest, in effect “lifting” the abnormal tissue and separating it from the deeper intestinal layers. The abnormal lesion is then removed (“resected”) with a snare; the tissue is subsequently retrieved and sent to a pathologist for evaluation.
Reviewed November 2010