By Dr. Lance Uradomo, gastroenterologist and Assistant Professor of Medicine Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Maryland Medical Center.
What is endoscopic ultrasound?
Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is a specialized form of Endoscopy. During an endoscopy, a small camera is used to examine gastrointestinal tract. The EUS camera is has the ability to also use soundwaves (ultrasound) to examine areas outside of the normal view of a regular camera. These are the same sound waves that are used when people get ultrasounds during pregnancies or to look at the gall bladder.
With EUS, we can examine deep layers of the wall of the esophagus, stomach, and intestines. We can also examine organs completely outside of the GI tract such as the pancreas, liver, bile duct, and chest (mediastinum). If we see an abnormality, we can use EUS to guide a needle into the abnormal area to do a biopsy. The biopsy collects cells or fluid for analysis. This helps to make a diagnosis.
How is EUS performed?
EUS is performed in the Gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy suite in the hospital. Patient receive sedation through an IV line. Depending on the area that requires examination, the scope is passed either through the mouth or the rectum. No skin incisions are made during this procedure.
How do I prepare for this procedure?
Upper EUS requires fasting before the procedure. Patients prepare for Colon and rectal EUS with a colon cleanse. Patient receive written instructions for their specific procedure.
Will I be sedated for this procedure?
How long does the procedure take?
The procedure usually lasts between 30 and 60 minutes. Additional time is required to get ready for the procedure after you arrive and to recover from sedation afterwards.
What disease/conditions would this be used to diagnose?
EUS is useful for diagnosis certain cancers such as pancreatic cancer. Sometime we can make the diagnosis with EUS after other types of procedures have been unable to do so.
It can also help determine how advanced the stage of cancers are in the rectum, esophagus, and pancreas. EUS is also useful for evaluating pockets of fluid in the pancreas called "cysts." Finally, EUS can help in the diagnosis of masses or tumors within the wall of the stomach, esophagus and intestine.
What is the advantage of using this tool?
EUS is a minimally invasive procedure that can safely, rapidly, and accurately diagnose and stage a variety of challenging diseases.
Why come to UMMC for this procedure?
This is not a procedure that is performed at every hospital. EUS requires specialized technology, training, and expertise. We have extensive experience with EUS and receive referrals from throughout the region. Last year over 700 EUS procedures were performed at the Medical Center. More importantly, every individual physician that performs EUS has experience with the most challenging cases. Each, including Dr. Uradomo, has performed over 1000 EUS procedures.