Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)

Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) allows your doctor to examine the lining and the walls of your upper and lower gastrointestinal tract. EUS is also used to study internal organs that lie next to the gastrointestinal tract, such as the gall bladder and pancreas.

A thin, flexible tube, called an endoscope, is used to allow your doctor access to either your upper or lower gi tract. The upper tract is the esophagus, stomach and duodenum; the lower tract includes your colon and rectum.

EUS provides your doctor more detailed pictures of your digestive tract anatomy. Your doctor can use EUS to diagnose the cause of conditions such as abdominal pain or abnormal weight loss. Or, if your doctor has ruled out certain conditions, EUS can confirm your diagnosis and give you a clean bill of health. EUS is also used to evaluate an abnormality, such as a growth, that was detected at a prior endoscopy or by x-ray. EUS provides a detailed picture of the growth, which can help your doctor determine its nature and decide upon the best treatment. In addition, EUS can be used to diagnose diseases of the pancreas, bile duct and gallbladder when other tests are inconclusive.

If you received sedatives, you will be monitored in the recovery area until most of the sedative effects have worn off. If you had an upper EUS, your throat might be sore. You might feel bloated because of the air and water that were introduced during the examination. You´ll be able to eat after you leave the procedure area, unless you´re instructed otherwise. Your doctor generally can inform you of the results of the procedure that day, but the results of some tests will take longer.

Although complications can occur, they are rare when doctors with specialized training and experience perform the EUS examination. Bleeding might occur at a biopsy site, but it´s usually minimal and rarely requires follow-up. You might have a sore throat for a day or more. Nonprescription anesthetic-type throat lozenges and painkillers help relieve the sore throat. Other potential, but uncommon, risks of EUS include a reaction to the sedatives used, backwash of stomach contents into your lungs, infection, and complications from heart or lung diseases. One major, but very uncommon, complication of EUS is perforation. This is a tear through the lining of the intestine that might require surgery to repair.

The possibility of complications increases slightly if a deep needle aspiration is performed during the EUS examination. These risks must be balanced against the potential benefits of the procedure and the risks of alternative approaches to the condition.