What is an endoscopic ultrasound?
An endoscopic ultrasound or EUS is a procedure used to look in detail at your gastrointestinal tract, although it is also useful for examining other organs such as the lungs, pancreas, gall bladder, liver, spleen, adrenal gland, ovaries and uterus.
It produces higher quality images than standard ultrasound because the sound waves are not travelling through you skin and muscle layer to your organs. Instead, your physician will insert a specially equipped endoscope via either your throat (for an upper GI EUS) or your rectum (for a lower GI EUS).
The high-quality images produced by an EUS make it ideal when very detailed images are required, or when a secondary procedure – such as cyst drainage – needs to be carried out.
You will be asked not to eat or drink for several hours beforehand, and you may be asked to stop certain medications before the procedure too. Depending on the area that will be scanned, you may be given laxatives, an enema or a special diet to follow before your EUS.
An EUS is a day procedure and you will be able to return home afterwards, although if you have been given sedation, you’ll be asked to wait until it’s worn off. If you have had an upper GI endoscopic ultrasound, you may have a sore throat, while a lower GI endoscopic ultrasound may make you feel bloated for a while.
Who needs an endoscopic ultrasound?
An endoscopic ultrasound may be recommended to diagnose or treat gastrointestinal or digestive issues you may have. It’s a useful procedure for:
- Obtaining biopsies (tissue samples than can be examined under a microscope)
- Draining cysts
- Evaluating cancerous growths
- Examining abnormalities
- Locating stones in the bile duct or gall bladder
It’s also used for other purposes such as examining the respiratory system.