Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) is a very powerful endoscopic technology that allows advanced endoscopists to visualize, diagnose and treat a multitude of disorders both inside and outside the GI tract. EUS is performed with an echoendoscope which is similar to a standard endoscope, but contains an additional ultrasound probe at its tip which allows for visualization not only of the inside of the GI tract, but also through the walls and even into neighboring organs surrounding the GI tract. EUS uses the power of sound waves to visualize these organs.
When a fine-needle aspiration is also part of the procedure, your doctor can sample tissue and fluid found in your chest or abdomen for further analysis and testing. This is often a less invasive option to surgery. Recently the application of EUS has exploded from diagnostic to also therapeutic purposes for a variety of diseases (pancreatic fluid collections , bile duct obstruction, gastric varices , etc.).
One of the most basic functions of EUS is to locate, stage, and sample tumors inside (esophagus, stomach, intestines, rectum) and outside (pancreas, bile duct, mediastinum) the GI tract. It may be used to evaluate abnormal findings from other tests, like MRIs or CT scans.
An EUS is helpful when evaluating the following:
In addition, there are other uses for an EUS. For instance, it can help with the following procedures:
EUS is considered a safe procedure. The risks are a bit higher with fine-needle aspiration and may include bleeding, infection, or pancreatitis. However these risks are still very low. In most cases, EUS is an outpatient procedure and is well tolerated by patients.
You will want to fast before the procedure. Your doctor will let you know for how long, although six to eight hours is standard. You will be sedated for this procedure, so you should have someone who can come along with you or pick you up and drive you home after the testing is done.
When you get to the medical facility, you will often be given a medication that helps to sedate and relax you. At the time when the EUS begins, the doctor will pass an endoscope (a small, flexible tube) into your mouth, down your throat, and into your digestive tract. A transducer that makes sound waves will be included in the endoscope. This will generate an image of the tissue, along with the lymph nodes. After that is complete, the endoscope will be removed.
For those who also have fine-needle aspiration, your physician may pass a second device in the endoscope and down to your digestive tract. This allows guidance of a needle that can extract tissues or fluids needed for analysis.
Are you interested in learning more about EUS or medical conditions that may require its use? We invite you to contact us to learn more. Dr. Prashant Kedia is a therapeutic endoscopist and gastroenterologist serving patients in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and beyond. Call today to schedule an appointment at (214) 941-6891.