Endoscopic Ultrasound

Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is the combination of both endoscopy and ultrasound to acquire images and information about the digestive system and nearby tissues and organs. An endoscopy involves a long flexible tube that is inserted through either the mouth or rectum in order to photograph parts of the digestive tract. Ultrasound is a technique using high-frequency sound waves for imaging organs and other structures in the body such as the liver, gall bladder, and pancreas.

How Endoscopic Ultrasound Works

For endoscopic ultrasound, a small ultrasound transducer is placed onto the end of an endoscope. With this technique, doctors can obtain high-quality ultrasound images from inside the patient’s body. Endoscopic ultrasound is more accurate and detailed than ordinary ultrasound scans because of the close proximity of the transducer to the organs. Endoscopic ultrasound is capable of imaging difficult areas such as intestinal walls, lymph nodes, and blood vessels.

Endoscopic Ultrasound Uses

Endoscopic ultrasound is a relatively new technology so new uses are still being developed. Among the main uses of endoscopic ultrasound today are for the staging of cancers in the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, and rectum. Endoscopic ultrasound is also used for staging lung cancer and studying liver tumors. Aside from cancer, endoscopic ultrasound has been used in the evaluation of various organs and organ systems like the development of stones in the bile duct and gall bladder.

Preparing for Endoscopic Ultrasound

Before undergoing an endoscopic ultrasound procedure, the doctor will need to know about the patient’s health status. Specifically, the doctor will need to know if there are serious problems like heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes. Allergies to iodine and shellfish are also crucial information since contrast material is sometimes used. If a patient is allergic to iodine then contrast material may be a problem if it is iodine-based.

Endoscopic Ultrasound Procedure

The endoscopic ultrasound procedure is usually performed with the patient wearing a hospital gown. An intravenous (IV) drip is placed into the patient’s arm where saline fluid and other necessities are pumped into the patient. Sedatives and contrast material are usually the only other substances injected into the patient. Anesthesia is rarely ever used during an endoscopic ultrasound but can sometimes be administered.

After being sedated, electrode patches are attached to the patient to monitor blood pressure, pulse, and oxygen levels and the specialized endoscope is inserted for the procedure. The doctor will then observe the patient’s digestive tract through a television monitor. There will also be another monitor for the ultrasound image. The entire process usually takes between 30 to 90 minutes.


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“Endoscopic Ultrasound.” GI Health. N.p.. Web. 7 Jul 2013. <http://www.gihealth.com/html/education/eus.html>.

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