Merck Manual

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Small-Intestine Tumors That Are Noncancerous

By

Anthony Villano

, MD, Fox Chase Cancer Center

Reviewed/Revised Oct 2023
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Topic Resources

Most tumors of the small intestine are noncancerous (benign). These include tumors of fat cells (lipomas), nerve cells (neurofibromas), connective tissue cells (fibromas), and muscle cells (leiomyomas).

The Small Intestine
VIDEO

Symptoms of Noncancerous Small-Intestine Tumors

Diagnosis of Noncancerous Small-Intestine Tumors

  • Enteroclysis

  • Endoscopy

  • Video capsule endoscopy

Doctors typically do enteroclysis. In this procedure, a large amount of barium liquid is inserted through a tube in the nose and x-rays are taken as the barium moves through the digestive tract. Sometimes this procedure is done with a computed tomography Computed Tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Digestive Tract Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are good tests for assessing the size and location of abdominal organs. Additionally, cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous... read more (CT) scan instead of plain x-rays, in which case the person can just drink the barium rather than having a tube put through their nose.

For endoscopy Endoscopy Endoscopy is an examination of internal structures using a flexible viewing tube (endoscope). In addition to examinations, doctors can use endoscopy to do biopsies and give treatment. Endoscopes... read more , a doctor passes an endoscope (a flexible viewing tube) through the mouth and down to the duodenum and part of the jejunum (the upper and middle sections of the small intestine) to locate the tumor and do a biopsy (remove a tissue sample for examination under a microscope). A doctor can sometimes see tumors of the ileum (the lower section of the small intestine) by passing a colonoscope (an endoscope used to view the lower part of the digestive tract) through the anus, through the entire large intestine, and up into the ileum.

Sometimes exploratory surgery is needed to identify a tumor in the small intestine.

Treatment of Noncancerous Small-Intestine Tumors

  • Various removal methods

Small noncancerous growths may be destroyed by treatments that are done at the same time as endoscopy. These treatments include applying an electrical current (electrocautery) or heat (thermal obliteration) directly to the growth or directing a high-energy beam of light at the growth (laser phototherapy).

For large growths, surgery may be needed.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: VIEW PROFESSIONAL VERSION
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