Endoscopic Ultrasound

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Overview

The gastrointestinal tract is the system of passageways and organs that digest food, from the mouth to the rectum. An endoscopic ultrasound is performed to provide a highly specialized view and imaging of the gastrointestinal tract by combining two important diagnostic procedures:

  • Endoscopy – A process that provides an internal view of the gastrointestinal tract using a thin flexible tube, called an endoscope, that is equipped with a tiny camera. 
  • Ultrasound – An imaging technique in which sound waves are directed toward specific areas of the gastrointestinal tract, creating a picture by bouncing against hard objects, such as stones or stiff tissue.

Having an ultrasound probe on the end of an endoscope is a powerful way to evaluate areas that are difficult to assess by other methods. The doctor will look for abnormalities such as cysts, lesions, polyps, and stones, depending on the area of the gastrointestinal tract being examined. The physician is also able to use peripheral accessories through the endoscope to sample lesions and provide interventions.  It can also be used for staging cancers, characterizing submucosal lesions of the GI tract, and performing interventions on structures outside the GI tract.

Preparation

An endoscopic ultrasound is an outpatient procedure. The patient will be sedated and will need a ride home. If a lower exam is being performed, the patient will receive instructions on cleaning the colon. 

Conditions treated or evaluated by this procedure

Resources

The following resources may be helpful: 

American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy: https://www.asge.org/home/for-patients/patient-information/understanding-eus

Understanding an Endoscopic Ultrasound: https://youtu.be/NreeQ5eViiU

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