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endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR)

overview

Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) is a procedure performed with an endoscope (a flexible tube equipped with a light and tiny camera) to check for and remove abnormal tissue (a lesion) from the digestive tract – including the esophagus, stomach or upper part of the small intestine, or duodenum. EMR can also be used to remove abnormal tissue from the colon by inserting the tube into the anus. The abnormal tissue removed during EMR is tested for cancer or precancerous conditions. Sometimes, tissue is abnormal from Barrett's esophagus. EMR allows tissue to be removed without surgery.

what to expect

Before an EMR, you may be asked to not eat, or to drink only clear liquids. You may also need to clean out your colon as you would for a colonoscopy. You may need to avoid smoking and/or taking certain medications before EGD. It’s an outpatient procedure, and you’ll be sedated with medication given through a needle in your arm (intravenously, or IV). Any discomfort is minimal.

Your doctor may numb your throat with a spray before placing the endoscope in your mouth. You’ll lie on your side during the procedure. Sometimes, the endoscope needs to be inserted through the rectum. Using a camera in the endoscope that sends pictures to a computer, your doctor guides the endoscope to the area of the lesion. Then the lesion is removed using tools inserted through the endoscope. Finally, the area where the lesion was removed is marked with ink so it can be easily found during future exams.

recovery

The procedure takes 30 to 60 minutes, after which you’re monitored for an hour or two while the sedation medication wears off. Then you'll be released from the hospital to someone who can drive you home. You might have a sore throat or some bloating for a day or two. Later, your doctor will discuss the results of the EMR with you. If you have Barrett's esophagus, you may need additional treatment after EMR such as cryotherapy, radiofrequency ablation or surgery to remove your esophagus.

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