Underwater versus conventional EMR for nonpedunculated colorectal lesions: a randomized clinical trial

Gastrointest Endosc. 2023 Mar;97(3):549-558. doi: 10.1016/j.gie.2022.10.033. Epub 2022 Oct 26.


Background and aims: Conventional endoscopic mucosal resection (CEMR) is the standard modality for removing nonpedunculated colorectal lesions. Underwater endoscopic mucosal resection (UEMR) has emerged as an alternative method. There are few comparative studies between these techniques, especially evaluating recurrence. Therefore, the purpose of this trial was to compare CEMR and UEMR for the resection of colorectal lesions with respect to efficacy, safety, and recurrence rate.

Methods: This was a randomized controlled trial of UEMR versus CEMR for naïve and nonpedunculated lesions measuring between 10 and 40 mm. The primary outcome was adenoma recurrence at 6 months after the resection. Secondary outcomes were rates of technical success, en bloc resection, and adverse events. Block randomization was used to assign patients. Tattooing was performed to facilitate localization of the scars and eventual recurrences. Endoscopic follow-up was scheduled at 6 months after the procedure. The sites of resections were examined with white-light imaging, narrow-band imaging (NBI), and conventional chromoscopy with indigo carmine followed by biopsies.

Results: One hundred five patients with 120 lesions were included, with a mean size of 17.5 ± 7.1 (SD) mm. Sixty-one lesions were resected by UEMR and 59 by CEMR. The groups were similar at baseline regarding age, sex, average size, and histologic type. Lesions in the proximal colon in the CEMR group corresponded to 83% and in the UEMR group to 67.8% (P = .073). There was no difference between groups regarding success rate (1 failure in each group) and en bloc resection rate (60.6% UEMR vs 54.2% CEMR, P = .48). Intraprocedural bleeding was observed in 5 CEMRs (8.5%) and 2 UEMRs (3.3%) (P = .27). There was no perforation or delayed hemorrhage in either groups. Recurrence rate was higher in the CEMR arm (15%) than in the UEMR arm (2%) (P = .031). Therefore, the relative risk of 6-month recurrence rate in the CEMR group was 7.5-fold higher (95% CI, 0.98-58.20), with a number needed to treat of 7.7 (95% CI, 40.33-4.22). The higher recurrence rate in the CEMR group persisted only for lesions measuring 21 to 40 mm (35.7% vs 0%; P = .04).

Conclusion: This study demonstrated that UEMR was associated with a lower adenoma recurrence rate than was CEMR. Both endoscopic techniques were effective and had similar rates of adverse events for the treatment of nonpedunculated colorectal lesions.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma* / pathology
  • Adenoma* / surgery
  • Colonoscopy / methods
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Endoscopic Mucosal Resection* / methods
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / surgery