EUS is a minimally invasive technique that combines endoscopy and ultrasound to obtain images and information about the lining and walls of the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract and nearby organs. With EUS, a thin flexible tube (endoscope) is passed through a patient's mouth or rectum. A small ultrasound transducer at the tip of the endoscope sends out high-frequency sound waves, producing a high-quality, detailed ultrasound image of the targeted area for assessment.
EUS is also used to guide a special needle into targeted areas, such as suspicious tumors, to obtain tissue samples (biopsies) - a process known as fine needle aspiration.
How Is EUS Used?
Endoscopic ultrasound may be used to:
- Accurately identify the stages of gastrointestinal cancers, a critical factor in determining proper treatment methods for digestive diseases such as esophageal cancer.
- Determine the penetration and spread of cancer to adjacent tissues and lymph nodes.
- Evaluate for tumors in adjacent organs such as the pancreas, liver and gallbladder.
- Diagnose diseases of the internal organs, such as chronic pancreatitis or cysts of the pancreas.
- Detect bile duct abnormalities, including stones and tumors
- Assess masses (submucosal lesions) that may be hiding in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract.
- Study the muscles of the lower rectum and anal canal in evaluating reasons for fecal incontinence.
- Evaluate Crohn's disease involvement in the anus and rectum, such as fistulas or abscesses.