Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is a procedure that allows a doctor to obtain images and information about the digestive tract and the surrounding tissue and organs, including the lungs. Ultrasound testing uses sound waves to make a picture of internal organs.
During the procedure, a small ultrasound device is installed on the tip of an endoscope. An endoscope is a small, lighted, flexible tube with a camera attached. By inserting the endoscope and camera into the upper or the lower digestive tract, the doctor is able to obtain high-quality ultrasound images of organs. Because the EUS can get close to the organ(s) being examined, the images obtained with EUS are often more accurate and detailed than images provided by traditional ultrasound which must travel from the outside of the body.
When Is Endoscopic Ultrasound Used?
Endoscopic ultrasound may be used to:
- Evaluate stages of cancer
- Evaluate chronic pancreatitis or other disorders of the pancreas
- Study abnormalities or tumors in organs, including the gallbladder and liver
- Study the muscles of the lower rectum and anal canal to determine reasons for fecal incontinence (accidental bowel leakage)
- Study nodules (bumps) in the intestinal wall
What Happens During an Endoscopic Ultrasound?
A person undergoing an endoscopic ultrasound will be sedated prior to the procedure. After sedation, the doctor inserts an endoscope into the person's mouth or rectum. The doctor will observe the inside of the intestinal tract on a TV monitor and the ultrasound image on another monitor. Additionally the sound wave testing may be used to locate and help take biopsies (small piece of tissue to examine by microscope). The entire procedure usually takes 30 to 90 minutes and the patient usually can go home the same day of the procedure.