An endoscopic ultrasound is an advanced diagnostic study that combines the use of endoscopy and ultrasound imaging to obtain in-depth information about the digestive tract and surrounding organs.
It can be used to investigate various diseases of the digestive tract and lungs, find how deeply a mass or tumor penetrates the abdominal wall, evaluate the severity and spread of cancer, guide drainage of cysts or other fluid collections from the abdomen and help in precise delivery of medication to the liver, pancreas and other organs.
In preparation for an endoscopic ultrasound you are instructed to fast to ensure that your stomach is empty. If imaging of the rectal area is planned, you may be required to have an enema or take a laxative and be on a liquid diet. Certain medications such as blood thinners are temporarily discontinued to decrease the risk of bleeding. Prior to undergoing the procedure, your doctor will give you a sedative to help you relax. The endoscope which is a thin, flexible tube will be inserted into your mouth and passed through the digestive tract. A transducer (a small ultrasound device) attached to the endoscope produces sound waves that bounce off the surrounding structures to create precise images of their anatomy. Endoscopic ultrasound can also be used to assist in fine needle aspiration by precisely guiding the tip of the needle to the target location. Following the procedure, you will need someone to drive you home. Your doctor will interpret the EUS results, discuss important findings with you and plan further treatment.
Endoscopic ultrasound is a very safe procedure and is generally performed on an outpatient basis. However, there is a minimal risk of bleeding, infection, pancreatitis and perforation of the intestine or throat.