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Author Notes:

Corresponding author: Braden Kuo, Division of Gastroenterology, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit Street, Boston, MA, 02114, bkuo@mgh.harvard.edu, Fax: (617) 726-3080, Telephone: (617) 724-6038.

Study design and procedures performed by FFW, WRB, and BK.

Pathology performed and figure design by LRZ, KB.

Data analysis by KB and BK.

All authors contributed to writing the manuscript.

BK is a consultant for Takeda America Inc, Theravance Bipharma, Covidien/Given Imaging, Gelesis, GlaxoSmithKline, Ironwood, Vibrant Ltd., Entrega, and Genzyme.

All other authors have no financial disclosures.



  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Endoscopic mucosal resection is superior to rectal suction biopsy for analysis of enteric ganglia in constipation and dysmotility


Journal Title:

Gastrointestinal Endoscopy


Volume 87, Number 3


, Pages 876-880

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Background and Aims: Patients with chronic constipation or motility disorders may be referred for rectal suction biopsy (RSB) to rule out Hirschsprung's disease (HD). RSB may not be successful beyond infancy because of the increased thickness of the rectal mucosa. EMR could improve the diagnostic yield for HD when compared with traditional RSB because larger and deeper samples are acquired for analysis. Methods: In this prospective, single-center study, patients referred for RSB were offered enrollment for concurrent EMR. Specimens were analyzed pathologically for size, submucosal ganglionic tissue, and acetylcholinesterase or calretinin staining. Biopsy results were compared with transit studies, anorectal manometry, and constipation severity through validated questionnaires. Results: Seventeen patients (2 male, 15 female; mean age, 35.8 years; range, 22-61 years) were enrolled in the study from 2008 to 2014. All patients underwent anorectal manometry (88% with anorectal dysfunction, 68% with outlet obstruction) and transit studies (41% with delayed transit). There were no reports of adverse events from the RSB and EMR procedures. The RSB sample volumes were significantly lower than the EMR sample volumes (0.023 cm3 vs 0.26 cm3, P =.001). There was diagnostic tissue for submucosal visualization by RSB in 53% (9/17) of cases compared with 100% (17/17) with EMR (P =.003). No cases of HD were diagnosed by RSB; one patient had rare ganglions observed by EMR. Conclusions: EMR provides greater tissue volume and can improve the characterization of ganglion cells in rectal tissue compared with RSB in patients with moderate to severe constipation with suspected HD.

Copyright information:

© 2018 American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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