Endoscopic ultrasound, also known as EUS or endoscopic ultrasonography, is a test that a gastroenterologist uses to diagnose problems of the gastrointestinal (GI) walls and surrounding organs such as the liver, pancreas, gallbladder, bile duct and the lymph nodes in the chest and abdomen.
Like the devices used during colonoscopy and upper endoscopy, an endoscopic ultrasound scope has a light and tiny camera at the end. The difference is this device also has a miniature ultrasound probe that gives two-dimensional images. Since the probe is inside the body and next to the organ of interest, the images give more detail than conventional ultrasound, CT or MRI tests. The probe can be positioned anywhere in the esophagus, stomach, start of the small bowel or rectum.
This procedure is often recommended for people experiencing symptoms such as inexplicable abdominal pain, although it is most commonly used to investigate problems that have been found during conventional endoscopy or imaging.
During an outpatient visit, endoscopic ultrasound is performed in the MultiCare Deaconess GI/Pulmonary Center and takes under an hour to complete. The minimally invasive procedure, like many other flexible endoscopy procedures, is done under moderate sedation. No incision is necessary. Post-procedure, patients typically are observed and monitored for approximately half an hour.
Exploratory surgery is often avoided because the images produced by an endoscopic ultrasound provide a great amount of detail and can usually provide a definitive diagnosis. These images also provide the gastroenterologist and physician a clearer picture of growths and other abnormalities found during prior exams, such as a CT scan. During the procedure, the gastroenterologist can also take a biopsy of the lining of a GI tract or place a slender needle in an abnormality to obtain fluid or cell samples. A mini pathology lab is right next door to make immediate results available.
This procedure is completed on an outpatient basis at the Deaconess GI/Pulmonary Center by Lance Ferrin, MD, MultiCare Rockwood Gastroenterologist.