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Endoscopic Mucosal Resection

A mucosectomy is an endoscopic procedure in which the top layer of esophageal tissue, called the mucosal layer, is removed. In time, another layer of tissue will grow back in its place. This procedure is often used in precancerous conditions, such as Barrett's esophagus.

Before the procedure, the throat is sprayed with a local anesthetic. You will be given medications through an intravenous line, which will allow you to relax and become sleepy. The endoscope is then guided into the esophagus and the area of Barrett's is carefully examined. The specific area, or mucosa, to be removed is raised away from the wall of the esophagus by injecting sterile saline under the mucosa. This area is removed with a snare-like instrument, which is passed through the endoscope.

The procedure is performed in the Endoscopy Suite in the Gastrointestinal Unit and takes about 30-45 minutes. After the procedure there is some discomfort in the throat, which lasts for a short period of time. You will eat a soft diet for about three to four days.

Endoscopic mucosectomy was first used in clinical practice to obtain a large biopsy sample of tissue in the esophagus or colon but later evolved into a treatment modality. Unlike therapy with a laser, which destroys tissue, the specimen is preserved and can be studied further by a pathologist.