Background and study aims: Removal of a lesion containing an ulcer scar is one of the most challenging applications of endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD). The present study examined whether a novel balloon dissector could cleave fibrotic submucosal tissue beneath ulcer scars. Methods: Six pigs were studied. Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) with ligation was performed at 7 or 8 sites in the stomach for each animal; 4 weeks later, 23 sites with a visible scar were selected for submucosal dissection. The procedure involved first creating a submucosal fluid cushion (SFC) by injecting either saline mixed with mesna or pure saline. A slender, compliant balloon with a diameter of 8, 13, or 18 mm was inserted into the SFC. The balloon was unfolded and thrust forward to cleave the fibrotic submucosa over approximately 5 cm. Results: Fibrotic submucosa was dissected within 90 seconds in 17 of 23 attempts. Isolating the ulcer scar from the muscularis with the SFC prior to balloon dissection and using a thinner balloon catheter both ensured a better dissection. Conclusions: The fibrotic submucosa underlying post-EMR scars can be dissected with the novel balloon dissector, although the technique is less effective in cases with no sign of lifting.
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