Endoscopic Ultrasound

Modern medical procedures allow doctors to look inside your body without surgery. This means they can find problems and diseases in less time and with less risk.

One such procedure, endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), combines endoscopy with ultrasound imaging. It lets your doctor examine organs in or near your digestive tract.

What is an Endoscopic Ultrasound?

Like traditional endoscopies, EUS is a minimally invasive procedure. Your doctor inserts a long, flexible tube (endoscope) into your mouth or rectum, then guides it through your body. The lighted endoscope is attached to a tiny camera. This gives your doctor a close-up view of your digestive tract.

But with EUS, the endoscope is also attached to an ultrasound device. It uses sound waves to produce pictures of surrounding organs and tissue. These may include your esophagus, stomach, colon, rectum, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, lungs or lymph nodes.

EUS has many uses, including:

  • Finding out what’s causing your unusual symptoms. EUS can explore many problems. These include abdominal or chest pain, unexpected weight loss and accidental bowel leakage.
  • Diagnosing medical conditions including pancreatitis, sarcoidosis, bile duct stones and Barrett’s esophagus.
  • Performing biopsies (taking tissue or fluid samples) to test for cancer.
  • Diagnosing and staging cancer. This includes colorectal, lung, pancreas, stomach and esophageal cancers, as well as lymphoma.
  • Confirming whether cancer has spread to your lymph nodes or other organs.
  • Performing certain treatments. These include draining cysts and delivering medication directly to an organ.

Benefits of an Endoscopic Ultrasound

EUS offers benefits that many other diagnostic tests cannot:

  • It lets doctors examine organs and other structures that can’t be seen through standard endoscopy procedures.
  • Because the ultrasound device is inside your body, right next to your organs, it may create more detailed and accurate images. During traditional ultrasound exams, sound waves must travel from outside your body.
  • Your doctor can take a tissue or fluid sample by passing a thin needle through the endoscope. This eliminates the need for a separate biopsy procedure.
  • You’re not exposed to radiation.

What to Expect During an Endoscopic Ultrasound

Your Mercy care team will make sure you understand what to expect before, during and after your test. For example:

  • EUS is an outpatient procedure. Most patients return home the same day.
  • The procedure usually takes less than an hour, even when it’s combined with biopsy.
  • You’ll need to fast for at least eight hours before your appointment.
  • If you’re having EUS in your rectal area, you may need to take a laxative or have an enema first.
  • You’ll be sedated during the procedure.
  • EUS is generally safe, with few complications. But like any medical procedure, there are risks. These include bleeding, infection or tearing of the digestive tract.

It’s normal to feel nervous before having a medical procedure. But tests like EUS are a vital step toward getting you the treatments you need. And no matter what your test results show, you’ll find the care and support you need at Mercy.

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