Endoscopic Ultrasound

EUS is a relatively new diagnostic tool that is utilized to detect cancers of the esophagus, stomach, pancreas and rectum. It can also evaluate chronic pancreatitis, study bile duct abnormalities, the muscles of the lower rectum and detect nodules (bumps) in the intestinal wall.

The Procedure

In EUS, a small ultrasound transducer is installed on the tip of the endoscope. The endoscope is then inserted into the upper or lower digestive tract to obtain high quality ultrasound images of the organs inside the body. Because of the proximity of the EUS transducer to the organ(s) of interest, the images obtained are frequently more accurate and more detailed than the ones obtained by traditional ultrasound.

Preparing for Your Appointment

Your physician will want to know about your health status and history, specifically if you have any allergies or other significant health problems. It is important to inform your doctor about any family history of bleeding problems, or if you are taking medications that interfere with blood clotting. EUS is performed with sedation, so you will not be able to drive or return to work for 24 hours. You will need to have an empty stomach; no oral intake for 6 or more hours prior to the procedure. Full instructions will be provided.

After Your Appointment

After the procedure, you'll be sleepy for up to one hour, and unable to drink or walk. Once you are fully awake, the doctor will discuss the findings of the procedure. Barring any rare complications, your companion will be able to take you home, where you should rest for the remainder of the day. Light meals and fluids are allowed. The bloating you may feel is from the insufflated air and is only temporary. If you are having severe pain, vomiting, passage or vomiting of blood, chills or fever, call your doctor immediately.

Risks

Like other endoscopy procedures, EUS is safe and well tolerated. Complications without fine needle aspiration are about one in two thousand. Patients sometimes develop reactions such as hives, skin rash or nausea to the medications used during EUS. A lump may appear where the IV was placed; this usually resolves itself over time. The main complication risk is perforation, which may require surgical repair. This is rare and all precautions are taken to avoid it.

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