Endoscopic ultrasound, or EUS, is a procedure that combines traditional endoscopy with ultrasound to examine the upper and lower gastrointestinal, or GI, tract, as well as surrounding organs, including the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. Dr. Jerman, can you tell us more about EUS?
Certainly, Dr. Mansfield. EUS provides access to the same areas as other endoscopic procedures, but the addition of ultrasound makes it particularly useful for evaluating the tissue layers below or outside the mucosa, or surface, layer. This is helpful for evaluating submucosal nodules, tumors, the pancreas, possible metastasis, and parts of the biliary tree.
EUS provides a detailed image of a submucosal nodule, which can help providers determine its origin and the best course of treatment. EUS can also be useful in diagnosing diseases of the pancreas, bile ducts, and gallbladder when other tests are inconclusive or conflicting.
During EUS, the provider passes a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope through the mouth into the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum, or through the anus into the rectum and colon. The endoscope has a tiny ultrasound probe at the end, which uses sound waves to create visual images of the digestive tract and surrounding organs. Tiny tools can be passed through the endoscope to take tissue samples, remove growths, or drain cysts.
EUS is often done while the patient is under an intravenous sedative. A gargle or spray to numb the throat may also be given to prevent stimulation of the natural gag reflex during an EUS examination of the upper GI tract.