Submucosal nodules, sometimes called submucosal lesions or submucosal tumors, are growths underneath the mucosa, which is the lining of gastrointestinal organs. Dr. Malone, can you tell us about submucosal nodules?
Of course, Dr. Mansfield. Submucosal nodules can occur anywhere throughout the GI tract, but many types of submucosal nodules are most frequently found in the stomach.
Submucosal nodules can be benign, precancerous, or cancerous. They often have no symptoms and are only found incidentally during a diagnostic or screening test for other conditions. Symptoms do present in some cases, however, and they vary depending on the type and location of the growth.
The most common type of submucosal nodule is a gastrointestinal stromal tumor, or GIST, which is most often found in the stomach. Pancreatic rests are another type often found in the stomach. Lipomas are a type of submucosal nodule that can be found anywhere in the GI tract, and carcinoids are most frequently found in the rectum and small intestine. Other types, such as leiomyomas and granular cell tumors, are most often found in the esophagus.
Diagnosis of submucosal nodules usually requires a specialized upper endoscopy procedure called endoscopic ultrasonography, or endoscopic ultrasound. Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of organs inside the body. In an endoscopic ultrasound, or EUS, the sound waves are sent through a thin, flexible tube, called an endoscope, that is passed into the digestive tract through the mouth or the anus. This allows for ultrasound images to be taken from inside the body, as well as sampling of the tissue.
Depending on the type of submucosal nodule, further tests may be recommended to determine whether the growth is benign, precancerous, or cancerous.