Sharp Grossmont Hospital now offers an advanced treatment for patients with precancerous tumors or early-stage cancer in the gastrointestinal tract. Endoscopic submucosal dissection — or ESD — is a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure with a shorter recovery time than surgery.
ESD works particularly well for removing precancerous or early cancerous lesions that are large or are in difficult locations. It is also an option for patients whose health conditions make them poor candidates for surgery, as the procedure requires no external incisions. Instead, the doctor uses an endoscope — a flexible tube with lights and a camera — to find and remove lesions.
In the U.S., ESD is most commonly used to treat patients with colon polyps and Barrett’s esophagus neoplasia, which can be a complication of longstanding gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Developed in Japan, ESD is a sophisticated procedure that requires a high level of skill and training to perform. Along with obtaining the required certifications, Dr. Michael Lajin, a board-certified gastroenterologist affiliated with Sharp Grossmont Hospital, also completed a course led by doctors in Japan who pioneered the procedure.
Currently, Sharp Grossmont Hospital is the only medical center in San Diego County that offers this minimally invasive procedure. The hospital has a core team of endoscopy nurses and technicians who are trained to assist Dr. Lajin.
The procedure is usually performed under deep sedation or general anesthesia. An endoscope is inserted through the mouth or anus, depending on the location of the lesion. The camera on the endoscope allows the doctor to see it clearly in order to operate.
The goal of ESD is to remove a lesion in one piece as much as possible; doing so drastically reduces the risk of recurrence. Because there is no incision, patients report faster recovery and less pain than with a laparoscopic or open procedure.
“We frequently encounter patients with lesions in the GI tract that meet the criteria for ESD,” explains Dr. Lajin. “Modern medicine is moving in the direction of providing care in a less invasive fashion with lower costs and fewer complications and side effects. I’m so happy that we can now offer the best, most advanced treatment option for these patients.”
For the news media: To talk with Dr. Lajin about ESD for an upcoming story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.