What is an EUS?
Upper EUS: A long flexible tube, approximately the size of your little finger, with a camera and a miniaturized ultrasound machine is passed through the mouth and past the back of the throat into the upper digestive tract. The instrument is designed to give limited ability to see the lining of the digestive tube but is very good at visualization of the structures around the digestive tube (lung, lymph glands, heart, pancreas, gallbladder, liver etc.). EUS provides greater detail than ultrasound through the skin since the instrument can get very close to the places of interest. The doctor is also capable of passing a small needle through the endoscope into adjacent structures to obtain tissue that can be analyzed. The same needle can be used to inject medicines into diseased areas, and to help other types of treatment, such as removal of large polyps or drainage of local cysts or abscesses.
Rectal EUS: The above examination can also be done to visualize the rectum and structures surrounding it.
The EUS procedure will last 30-90 minutes.
Why is an EUS necessary?
EUS is a valuable tool for the diagnosis, staging and treatment of many diseases of the esophagus, lung, stomach, pancreas, bile ducts, liver, gallbladder and rectum. While an EUS can help to evaluate and manage benign disease it is most frequently used to diagnose and stage different types of cancers. An abnormality suspected by clinical history, blood tests or x-ray can be confirmed and studied in detail as well small samples can be obtained using a small needle or biopsy forceps through the flexible tube.
In patients with suspected cancer, EUS can help to obtain tissue to diagnose the cancer and to help guide the surgeon choose the proper surgical procedure as well as help the oncologist determine if chemotherapy or radiation therapy is necessary.
EUS is a safe and extremely worthwhile procedure which is very well-tolerated. The decision to perform this procedure was based upon assessment of your particular problem. If you have any questions about your need for EUS do not hesitate to speak to your doctor.