Endoscopic Surgery for Stomach Cancer

NYU Langone specialists use minimally invasive endoscopic surgery procedures to remove early stomach cancers. An early cancer is one found in the inner lining of the stomach, called the mucosa, that has not spread into any other layers of the stomach. Endoscopic surgery may also be used to remove precancerous growths, called polyps.

In endoscopic surgery, doctors remove a tumor or growth through a lighted tube called an endoscope, which goes through the mouth and into the stomach.

Endoscope Mucosal Resection

During an endoscope mucosal resection, doctors pass an endoscope—a thin, flexible tube with a tiny video camera on the end of it—through the mouth and into the stomach to view the cancer. Then they pass small surgical tools through the scope to remove the tumor. The procedure is performed using a sedative.

In the laboratory, a pathologist examines the tumor under a microscope. If the pathologist sees the tumor is surrounded by healthy cells, this indicates that the surgeon removed all of the tumor. If not, the doctor may be able to remove additional tissue.

This technique is used primarily for precancerous lesions such as high grade dysplasia, or sometimes carcinoma in situ, which is a cancer that hasn’t penetrated the membrane of the mucosa.

Most people are able to go home as soon as the sedation wears off. You may experience some discomfort in the back of your throat or in your stomach for a few days afterward.

Endoscopic Submucosal Dissection

For people with early stomach cancer that is limited to the innermost layers of the stomach lining, a doctor may perform a more advanced procedure called an endoscopic submucosal dissection. This technique is used to remove larger tumors and tissue located deep within the gastric wall. It is also used for tumors that are limited to the mucosa and submucosa—usually small, flat polyps, or tumors.

Doctors use general anesthesia before passing an endoscope through the throat and into the stomach. Then they remove the tumor. Most people stay in the hospital overnight after the procedure so they can be monitored for complications.

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