What is Endoscopic Ultrasound?
Endoscopic ultrasound is a minimally invasive diagnostic procedure which combines the use of an endoscope, a flexible tube-like device with an attached light source, and ultrasound imaging to examine the gastrointestinal tract, surrounding tissues and organs, and various body systems. The procedure may be used for the assessment of gastrointestinal diseases.
Indications for Endoscopic Ultrasound
Endoscopic ultrasound is commonly indicated to evaluate conditions, such as:
- Pancreatitis and pancreatic cysts
- Colon cancer, esophagus cancer, pancreatic cancer, lung or stomach cancer, and ampullary and rectal cancers
- Abnormalities or tumors in organs, including the gallbladder and liver
- Barrett's esophagus
- Neuroendocrine tumors
- Bile duct stones
Preparation for Endoscopic Ultrasound
- You will be asked to fast for at least 6 hours before the test and make sure your stomach is empty.
- You may be asked to take a laxative or have an enema and to follow a liquid diet before the procedure.
- Your doctor should be informed of any chronic medical conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.
- Your doctor will instruct you on the use of your regular medications prior to the test procedure.
- In case a fine-needle aspiration is performed during EUS, the use of blood thinners can increase your risk of bleeding and may need to be avoided.
Endoscopic Ultrasound Procedure
- You will be given sedative medication.
- The endoscope is inserted through the mouth for upper GI endoscopy.
- For lower GI endoscopy, the endoscope will be inserted through the anus.
- The endoscope is guided to the area of concern and a small ultrasound device, known as the transducer, which is installed on the tip of an endoscope produces sound waves that create precise images of surrounding tissue, which can be viewed on a monitor.
- Following the examination, the endoscope is gradually withdrawn.
- The procedure usually lasts 20 to 45 minutes.
Post-Procedure Care and Instructions after an Endoscopic Ultrasound
You will be monitored in the recovery area until the anesthesia wears off. If you had an upper EUS, you may experience a sore throat and minor cramps. You can resume eating after the procedure unless instructed otherwise.
Risk and complications of an Endoscopic Ultrasound Procedure
The endoscopic ultrasound procedure is very safe; however, there are minimal risks of complications which include:
- Injury of the GI tract, intestinal wall, or throat