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Endoscopic Ultrasound – EUS

An endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is an examination in which a flexible instrument is inserted via the mouth or the rectum to visualize the digestive tract.

An ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the organs and structures inside the body such as liver, gallbladder, pancreas, stomach and rectum.

Endoscopic  Ultrasound on monitor

These detailed images are used in diagnosing and treating many common conditions inside the digestive tract. In addition, EUS is used for biopsy and tissue sampling of abnormal findings.

If you have any questions prior to the procedure, please feel free to discuss them with the nurse or your physician before the examination begins.

What to Expect

An endoscopic ultrasound is a way for doctors to examine your gastrointestinal tract. Most doctors will administer a sedative to help you relax. It is likely that you will be asked to lay on your left side. After the sedatives have taken effect, the endoscopist passes the ultrasound endoscope through either your mouth or anus.While most patients fall asleep during the procedure, a few consider it mildly uncomfortable. A lot of patients do not even remember it at all. The test should only last about an hour. The small ultrasound device produces sound waves that will create an image of the tissue in the GI tract. Once the images have been created, the endoscope is gradually removed.

Your doctor will provide you with specific instructions on how to prepare for an endoscopic ultrasound. You will be asked to avoid eating and drinking for six to eight hours before the procedure. Some medications may need to be stopped prior to the procedure. If you are having an endoscopic ultrasound of the rectum or colon, you will need to follow a clear liquid diet combined with an enema or laxatives to be sure the colon is empty during the procedure.

Endoscopic ultrasound is generally safe when it is performed by qualified and experienced medical healthcare providers. However, as with all medical procedures, there are always some risks involved. Your doctor will discuss them with you prior to the procedure. Most of the risks are associated with an endoscopic ultrasound with a fine-needle aspiration. They include:

  • Bleeding
  • Secondary infection
  • Tearing of the intestinal wall or the throat

You can help reduce the risk of complications by carefully following the preparation instructions as given by your doctor. After the procedure, if you experience any of these symptoms, let your doctor know or go to the nearest emergency room.

  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Stool that is very dark or black

Most medications can be taken as usual until the day of the procedure. Make sure you discuss any medications you take with your physician. They also need to know about any allergies you may have. Some medications need more adjustment before the procedure. If you take blood thinners the doctor will give you specific instructions on how they should be taken prior to the procedure.

Immediately following the endoscopic ultrasound, the doctor may have some preliminary findings to discuss with you. However, the complete results may not be available for a few days, especially if biopsies were taken. If something abnormal was detected, your physician will discuss further testing or treatment options with you.

You will need an adult who can drive you home safely following the procedure. Since you are sedated for the EUS, your reflexes may be slowed, and your judgment altered. You will be instructed to refrain from driving for the rest of the day.

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