Endoscopic submucosal dissection of early gastric neoplasia with a water jet-assisted knife: a Western, single-center experience

Gastrointest Endosc. 2012 Jun;75(6):1166-74. doi: 10.1016/j.gie.2012.02.027. Epub 2012 Apr 5.


Background: Endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD) of early gastric neoplasia has not yet been established in Western countries because of a lack of data and the difficult, time-consuming, and hazardous nature of the method. Some of the technical limitations may be overcome by use of a water jet-assisted knife, which allows a combination of a high-pressure water jet and electrosurgical interventions.

Objective: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of water jet-assisted ESD (WESD) with a water jet-assisted knife in selected patients with early gastric neoplasia.

Design: Single-center, prospective study.

Patients: This study involved 29 consecutive patients (13 female; median age 61 years; age range 35-93 years) with early gastric neoplasia that met the expanded criteria of the Japanese Gastric Cancer Association. Histology of biopsies had shown gastric adenocarcinoma in 21 cases, adenoma in 8 case, and suspicion of a GI stromal tumor in 1 case. The median maximal diameter of the lesions was 20 mm (range 10-40 mm).

Intervention: All procedures were done with patients under sedation with propofol. The water jet-assisted knife was used for setting coagulation markers around the neoplastic lesions, then for circumferential incision and dissection in combination with repeated submucosal injection of saline solution with a water jet system. Bleeding was treated with diathermia by use of the water jet-assisted knife or hemostatic forceps in case of failure or larger vessels. Clips were used for closure of perforations.

Main outcome measurements: Complete resection of neoplasia, procedure time, complication and recurrence rates.

Results: According to endoscopic criteria, complete resection of the targeted area could be achieved in all cases, with an en bloc resection rate of 90%. The median procedure duration was 74 minutes (range 15-402 minutes). Exchange of the device was needed in only 10 cases because of severe bleeding from larger vessels, which could be managed by use of hemostatic forceps. The 30-day morbidity rate was 4 of 30 (13.8%) because of postprocedure pain in 3 cases and delayed bleeding in 1 case. A 93-year-old patient died the night after WESD without evidence of a procedure-related complication. Histology of the resected specimens showed adenocarcinoma in 20 cases, adenoma in 7, no neoplasia in 2, and a plasmacytoma in 1. Complete resection (R0) was histologically confirmed in 18 of 28 patients (64.3%) with resected neoplastic specimens. A horizontal or vertical neoplasia-free margin could not be confirmed in 9 cases and 1 case, respectively. Complete local remission of neoplasia was achieved in 25 of 28 patients (89.3%) who were followed over a median period of 22 months (range 6-44 months). In 1 patient, a metachronous gastric adenocarcinoma was identified 54 weeks after initial WESD.

Limitations: Noncontrolled study with a limited number of patients.

Conclusion: The use of a water jet-assisted knife simplifies ESD because exchange of devices is rarely needed. WESD promises to be effective and safe. The study demonstrates that the high rates of en bloc resection of early gastric neoplasia reported in Asia can be reproduced in Western referral centers. However, histology may not always confirm complete resection of horizontal tumor margins. In spite of the unfavorable histology results, the high rate of complete local remission of neoplasia promises that surgical treatment of early gastric neoplasia can be avoided in the majority of cases.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery*
  • Adenoma / pathology
  • Adenoma / surgery*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Deep Sedation
  • Dissection / instrumentation
  • Dissection / methods*
  • Electrosurgery / instrumentation
  • Electrosurgery / methods*
  • Female
  • Gastroscopy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery*
  • Plasmacytoma / pathology
  • Plasmacytoma / surgery*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology
  • Stomach Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Water


  • Water