Hope & Healing: The UF Health Blog

University of Florida Health Leads U.S. in Third-Space Endoscopy

University of Florida Health is a national leader in the use of third-space endoscopy, an approach that allows gastroenterologists to tunnel within the muscular walls of hollow organs and remove large areas of tissue, such as polyps and areas of premalignant degeneration.

Dr. Chris Forsmark, chief of the division of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at the UF College of Medicine, part of UF Health, explains that the division offers complex and advanced endoscopic procedures that go beyond standard gastroenterology procedures like upper endoscopies and colonoscopies. As the field of endoscopic therapeutics grows, UF Health Shands receives more and more referrals for these complex endoscopic procedures. 

Gastroenterologists at UF Health perform third-space endoscopy procedures known as endoscopic submucosal dissection, which, according to Dr. Forsmark, can be used to “remove tissue that is up to 6 cm across, which is much larger than we could ever do before and would have required surgery.”

In an incisionless procedure, endoscopic submucosal dissection can be used to treat esophageal disorders, such as repairing a muscular sphincter that does not relax enough to allow passage of food.

Third-space endoscopy is expanding the field of endoscopic therapeutics, and the faculty at UF Health are world-renowned for performing these novel endoscopic procedures. “Our work in this space is leading to endoscopic bariatric procedures where we can begin to mimic what surgeons are doing in obesity surgery but without incisions,” says Dr. Forsmark. Faculty at UF Health continue to drive the field forward by developing the specialized skills required to perform complex endoscopic procedures, thereby offering patients better treatment options for gastrointestinal disorders.

Blog featured image credit: Huge liposarcoma of esophagus resected by endoscopic submucosal dissection: case report with video.

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