What is an Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)?

An Endoscopic Ultrasound, or EUS, is a procedure that examines your esophageal and stomach linings and the walls of the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract.

The procedure is performed using an endoscope, which is a thin, flexible tube equipped with a tiny camera and ultrasound device that allow the physician to view any affected regions of your gastrointestinal tract and make a much more accurate diagnosis.

Benefits & Risks

The EUS procedure is used to evaluate known abnormalities, including lumps or lesions, which were detected at a prior endoscopy or were seen on X-ray tests, such as a CT scan. EUS provides a detailed image of the lump or lesion, which can help your physician determine its origin and guide treatment decisions. EUS can be used to diagnose diseases of the pancreas, bile duct, and gallbladder when other tests are inconclusive or conflicting.

Serious complications from this procedure are uncommon. There is a small chance of a hole forming in the stomach, duodenum, or esophagus from the scope moving through these areas. There is also a small risk of bleeding at the biopsy site. Your physician will address any concerns you may have prior to the procedure.

What to Expect

You will need to have an empty stomach for the procedure. Your physician will request that you do not eat for 6 to 12 hours before the test. If the EUS is being performed on the lower intestines, the colon must be clean. Your physician will provide you with instructions for a liquid diet, laxatives, or an enema to clean the lower bowel. Additionally, if you take any blood-thinning medication, your physician may request that you stop using for 3-5 days before the test.

The actual exam usually takes 30-45 minutes. At the beginning of the procedure, anesthesiology will give you medication through a vein to help you relax and better tolerate any discomfort. The EUS will begin with you lying on your left side. The endoscope will then be passed through your throat or rectum. Once the endoscope is in position, the ultrasound device will send images to a video screen for the physician to make a diagnosis.

The EUS procedure is generally well tolerated. You will usually be kept under observation until most of the effects of the medication have worn off. The physician will then explain the results of your exam. You may resume your usual diet unless instructed otherwise by your physician. Your throat may feel scratchy or sore after the procedure, but this will soon subside. An EUS generally requires some anesthesia, which may make patients feel a bit woozy. Under these circumstances, patients are required to have a licensed driver take them back home.