Endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS) is a procedure in which your physician examines your esophageal and stomach linings as well as the walls of your upper and lower gastrointestinal tract. The upper tract consists of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum; the lower tract includes your colon and rectum. EUS is also used to study other organs that are near the gastrointestinal tract, including the lungs, liver, gall bladder and pancreas.
The procedure is performed using an endoscope, which is a thin, flexible tube equipped with a tiny camera and ultrasound device that allow the physician to view any affected regions of your gastrointestinal tract and make a much more accurate diagnosis.
Why do I need an EUS?
The EUS procedure is used to evaluate known abnormalities, including lumps or lesions, which were detected at a prior endoscopy or were seen on X-ray tests, such as a CT scan. EUS provides a detailed image of the lump or lesion, which can help your physician determine its origin and guide treatment decisions. EUS can be used to diagnose diseases of the pancreas, bile duct and gallbladder when other tests are inconclusive or conflicting.
What should I do before my EUS procedure?
You will need to have a completely empty stomach for the procedure. Your physician will request that you do not eat for 6 to 12 hours before the test. If the EUS is being performed on the lower intestines, the colon must be clean. Your physician will provide you with instructions for a liquid diet, laxatives, or an enema to clean the lower bowel. Additionally, if you take any blood-thinning medication, your physician may request that you stop use for 3-5 days before the test.
What happens during an EUS?
The actual exam usually takes 30-45 minutes. At the beginning of the procedure, anesthesiology will give you medication through a vein to help you relax and better tolerate any discomfort. The EUS will begin with you lying on your left side. The endoscope will then be passed through your throat or rectum. Once the endoscope is in position, the ultrasound device will send images to a video screen for the physician to make a diagnosis.
What happens after an EUS?
The EUS procedure is generally well tolerated. You will usually be kept under observation until most of the effects from the medication have worn off. The physician will then explain the results of your exam. You may resume your usual diet unless instructed otherwise by your physician. Your throat may feel scratchy or sore after the procedure, but this will soon subside. An EUS generally requires some anesthesia, which may make patients feel a bit woozy. Under these circumstances, patients are required to have a licensed driver take them back home. Taxis or other forms of hired transportation are not allowed.
Are there any risks of an EUS?
Serious complications from this procedure are uncommon. There is a small chance of a hole forming in the stomach, duodenum, or esophagus from the scope moving through these areas. There is also a small risk of bleeding at the biopsy site. Your physician will address any concerns you may have prior to the procedure.