Endoscopic Ultrasound

1 What is an Endoscopic Ultrasound?

A minimally invasive procedure to assess digestive or gastrointestinal and lung diseases is called endoscopic ultrasound or EUS.

This procedure uses high-frequency sound waves to produce detailed images of the lining and walls of your chest and digestive tract, nearby organs such as the liver, lymph nodes and pancreas.

EUS allows your doctor to biopsy fluid and tissue from your chest or abdomen for analysis when combined with a procedure called fine-needle aspiration and this can be minimally invasive alternative to exploratory surgery.

This procedure can also be used in treatments such as draining pseudocysts.

2 Reasons for Procedure

There are many reasons to decide to undergo an endoscopic ultrasound.

The cause of symptoms such as the chest or abdominal pain can be detected because of EUS and to determine the extent of disease in your digestive tract and lungs.

EUS may help in the evaluation of:

EUS can help:

  • determine the extent of cancer
  • access how deeply a tumor penetrates your abdominal wall in esophageal, rectal, gastric, lung and pancreatic cancers
  • check if cancer has spread to your other organs and lymph nodes
  • evaluate abnormal findings from imaging tests
  • provide precise information about non-small cell lung cancer cells
  • permit precise targeting for delivering medication directly into the pancreas, the liver, and your other organs
  • guide drainage of pseudocysts and other abnormal collections of fluid in the abdomen

This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis. If you have an abdominal surgery such as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, you cannot undergo EUS.

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3 Potential Risks

The risk or complications of endoscopic ultrasound may include:

  • infection
  • bleeding especially if fine-needle aspiration is done
  • pancreatitis if fine-needle aspiration of the pancreas is done
  • tearing or perforation of the intestinal wall or throat

Some of the possible symptoms that you need to watch after EUS include:

Consult your doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms.

4 Preparing for your Procedure

In order to prepare for the endoscopic ultrasound your doctor may ask you to:

  • fast before EUS to make sure your stomach is empty
  • prepare your rectum if it is done in the rectal area or you may be asked to take laxative or have an enema to follow a liquid diet before the procedure
  • stop taking certain medications such as blood thinners that can increase your risk of bleeding if fine-needle aspiration is performed during EUS or if you have high blood pressure or diabetes
  • plan ahead for your recovery

5 What to Expect

Here you can find out what to expect from your endoscopic ultrasound.

Your doctor will use an endoscope that will pass through your mouth and through your digestive tract.

A transducer which is a small ultrasound device will be used to produce sound waves that create a precise image of the surrounding tissues including your lymph nodes in the chest.

If you have a fine-needle aspiration with EUS, your doctor will pass a second curved device into your digestive tract and this will guide a very slender needle to your lymph nodes and tumors or other abnormalities.

This needle will extract tissue and fluid for analysis and this can last up to one hour.

6 Procedure Results

Understanding the results of your endoscopic ultrasound will be made possible by your doctor.

A gastroenterologist who specializes in digestive diseases and a pulmonologist who specializes in lung diseases with special training in EUS will interpret the EUS images.

A pathologist who is trained in analyzing biopsies will then report the test results if you have a fine-needle aspiration.

Your doctor will also discuss the results and findings and the next steps that you need to do.

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