What is an Endoscopic Ultrasound?
Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) uses sound waves (ultrasound) to produce high quality images of the lining of the upper digestive tract (esophagus, stomach, and 1st part of the small intestine); as well other organs that are near it such as the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and surrounding lymph nodes.
What happens during the procedure?
Most likely, you will receive a numbing medication before the procedure. Then, an endoscope is inserted through the mouth and then carefully moved down the throat and stomach, into the beginning of the small intestine. A probe emits sound waves and images are captured for the physician to view. The endoscope is then reversed out of the patient. This procedure normally ranges from twenty to forty-five minutes.
When is it performed?
A gastroenterologists may use this procedure when a patient expresses symptoms resembling pancreatic disease. Not only can an EUS produce images for the gastroenterologist to assess, but it can also collect a sample when combined with another procedure. It can be combined with a procedure called fine needle aspiration (FNA). With FNA, a needle can be advanced from the probe to the target organs and a small sample removed through the point. The sample can then be sent to the lab to be analyzed.
EUS can also be used to provide a minimally invasive way of draining pseudocysts from the pancreas. Pseudocysts are fluid-filled sacs that appear like a true cyst. However, the sac is not composed of a specific lining of cells that are common to a true cyst.