An endoscopic ultrasound is a minimally invasive procedure that allows the medical specialist to view a detailed image of certain structures and organs in your body. Oftentimes it is used to provide a closer look at your digestive tract, pancreas or liver, which is why it’s a procedure known all too well by gastroenterologists. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at why an endoscopic ultrasound may be performed, and how the procedure is conducted.
Why Would I Need An Endoscopic Ultrasound?
An endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is a helpful diagnostic technique that allows a specialist to get a detailed view of specific organs and structures with minimal patient discomfort. It’s also unique in that it can be combined with other procedures like a fine-needle aspiration to allow for the collection of fluid or tissue from a targeted site. For those reasons and more, an EUS is commonly ordered when the gastrointestinal specialist suspects some of the following conditions:
- Nodule, polyp or tumor formation
- Cancer detection and progression analysis
- Barrett’s esophagus
- Cyst detection and drainage
Because it is minimally invasive in nature and can produce detailed images using sound waves, it is often a preferred method over a more invasive exploratory surgery during the diagnostic stage. Considering it can also be paired with a tissue or fluid sample procedure, it’s amazing how much we can learn from such a minimally invasive operation.
How Is An EUS Performed?
An endoscopic ultrasound is typically performed on an outpatient basis, and it will require the patient to take some preparation steps in the days and weeks before the procedure. You’ll be asked to stop certain medications, plan a ride for the day of surgery, and fast prior to the procedure. You can learn more about our preparation guidelines by checking out our instruction booklet here.
On the day of the procedure, you’ll be given medication to help you relax. After the medication has kicked in, the gastroenterologist will pass a thin, small, flexible tube through your mouth and down into the area that’s being viewed. Attached to the endoscope is an ultrasound device known as a transducer that will emit sound waves that produce a detailed image of the area to a monitor that the gastroenterologist can visualize. They’ll take images of the area to help come up with a diagnosis, and if tissue or fluid collection is necessary, they will run a small device through the endoscope that has a fine needle at the end to extract the necessary sample for analysis. Even if tissue collection is needed, the procedure typically takes less than an hour.
With any procedure, there are some potential risks. Some risks include bleeding, infection and intestinal wall tearing, but these risks are minimal, especially when the procedure is performed by a skilled gastroenterologist.
Once the images have been taken, the gastroenterologist will walk you through your diagnosis and treatment. If a biopsy needs to be conducted, they will wait until they hear back from the pathologist before moving forward with an individualized diagnosis and treatment plan.
For more information about the endoscopic ultrasound procedure, or for answers to any of your gastrointestinal questions or concerns, reach out to Dr. Bhatti’s office today.