What is an Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)?
Endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS) allows your doctor to examine your esophageal and stomach linings as well as your internal organs including the pancreas, bile duct and gallbladder. Your endoscopist will use a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope that has a built-in miniature ultrasound probe. Your doctor will pass the endoscope through your mouth to the area to be examined. Your doctor then will use the ultrasound to use sound waves to create visual images of the digestive tract.
Why is an Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) needed?
EUS provides your doctor with more information than other imaging tests by providing up-close and detailed images of your digestive tract. Your doctor can use EUS to diagnose certain conditions that may cause abdominal pain or abnormal weight loss. EUS is also used to evaluate known problems, including masses or lesions, which were detected on a prior endoscopy or computed tomography (CT) scan. EUS can be used to diagnose diseases of the pancreas, bile duct and gallbladder when other tests are inconclusive or conflicting.
EUS helps your doctor determine the extent of spread of certain cancers of the digestive system. EUS allows your doctor to accurately assess the cancer's depth and whether it has spread to adjacent lymph glands or nearby vital structures, such as major blood vessels. In some patients, EUS can be used to obtain a needle biopsy of a mass or lesion to help your doctor determine the proper treatment
What is the preparation for an EUS?
An empty stomach allows for the best and safest examination. Your doctor will tell you when you should start fasting based on the date/time; usually midnight the day of your EUS. Tell your doctor in advance about any medications you take including; aspirin products or antiplatelet agents, arthritis medications, anticoagulants (blood thinners such as warfarin or heparin), clopidogrel, insulin or iron products. Discuss any allergies to medications as well as medical conditions, such as heart or lung disease.
What happens during an EUS?
The doctor will have you lie on your left side and the anesthesiologist/CRNA will give you gentle sedation. They will then pass the endoscope through your mouth and into the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. The endoscope doesn't interfere with your breathing. The procedure takes about 30 minutes. You should know that if a needle biopsy of a lesion or drainage of a cyst is performed during the EUS, then the procedure will be longer and may take up to two hours.
You will be monitored until most of the effects of the medication have worn off. Your throat might be a little sore, and you might feel bloated because of the air introduced into your stomach during the test. You will be able to eat after you leave unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. Your physician will explain the results of the examination to you, although you'll probably have to wait for the results of any biopsies performed. A driver will be needed to drive you home. Even if you feel alert after the procedure, your judgment and reflexes could be impaired for the rest of the day.
What are the complications of an EUS?
Our doctors are board-certified gastroenterologists who are specially trained and have performed thousands of these procedures. Although complications can occur, they are extremely rare. Bleeding can occur at a biopsy site, but it's usually minimal and rarely requires follow-up. Perforation (a hole or tear in the gastrointestinal tract lining) may require surgery but this is a very uncommon complication. Some patients might have a reaction to the sedatives or complications from heart or lung disease.
Although complications after an EUS are very uncommon, it's important to recognize early signs of possible complications. Contact your doctor immediately if you have a fever after the test or if you notice trouble swallowing or increasing throat, chest or abdominal pain, or bleeding, including black stools. Note that bleeding can occur several days after the procedure.
If you have any concerns about a possible complication, it is always best to contact your doctor right away.
Important Reminder: This information is intended only to provide general guidance. It does not provide definitive medical advice. It is very important that you consult your doctor about your specific condition.
Since its founding in 1941, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) has been dedicated to advancing patient care and digestive health by promoting excellence in gastrointestinal endoscopy. ASGE, with more than 11,000 members worldwide, promotes the highest standards for endoscopic training and practice, fosters endoscopic research, and is the foremost resource for endoscopic education.
This patient education brochure was developed by the Publications Committee of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. This information is the opinion of and provided by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.
Copyright Â©2010. American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. All rights reserved. This information may not be reproduced without express written permission by ASGE. For permission requests, please contact the ASGE Communications Department at 630-673-0600.