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What Is a GIST Tumor and How Is It Treated?

Your body functions in large part due to autonomic nerves, which control essential functions that you likely don’t think about until there is a problem. Examples are your breathing and your heart rate.

Another example of autonomic nerve control is in your digestive system, where food is broken down in your stomach. If you have a gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), genetic changes in your autonomic nerves lead to benign or malignant growths.

The team of gastroesophageal surgeons at the Center for Advanced Surgery, led by Marc Ward, MD, and Steven Leeds, MD, can diagnose and treat your GIST. Here’s what we want everyone throughout the Dallas, Texas, area to know about GIST, and the treatment options we have available for you.

Causes of GIST

Soft tissue sarcoma tumors can develop anywhere in your digestive system, but GIST is most common in your stomach and small intestines. Most cases of GIST are associated with mutation of a particular gene, the KIT gene. That’s why GIST often tends to run in families. Your chance of developing a tumor goes up if you have relatives with this condition.

Whether your GIST is noncancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant), you may experience uncomfortable symptoms. If you’re developing a GIST, you might have issues including nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, blood in your vomit or stool, lost appetite, anemia, and unintended weight loss.

After completing your diagnosis, your provider at the Center for Advanced Surgery puts together a treatment plan to address your GIST. We might need to use tests including CT scans, endoscopic ultrasounds, and fine-needle aspiration biopsies to confirm your GIST diagnosis.

Effective treatments for your GIST

The team at the Center for Advanced Surgery can remove tumors from your digestive tract, stopping your uncomfortable symptoms and protecting you from further health complications. We might need to remove other tissue as well to make sure your digestive system heals fully from your GIST.

To clear tumors from your digestive system, we use minimally invasive laparoscopic surgical techniques. We make a few tiny incisions, and with the help of a camera tool called a laparoscope, we can work with a high degree of accuracy within your digestive tract. 

To improve our imaging capabilities, we may puff up your stomach slightly with gas before your laparoscopic procedure.

After your surgery, you still need to take some time off for recovery. Depending on your procedure, you might need to spend a few days in the hospital, and you might need to follow a special diet while your digestive tract heals.

Your total recovery might take as long as six weeks. The team can give you more information about recovering from your laparoscopic GIST removal procedure.

To learn more about your options for GIST diagnosis and treatment, get in touch with the experts at the Center for Advanced Surgery today. You can request an appointment at our Dallas and Plano, Texas, offices by requesting an appointment here on our website, or giving us a call now to book your session.

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