Upper Endoscopic Ultrasound & Procedure Instructions

Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is a minimally invasive tool used to diagnose and stage gastrointestinal and lung cancers. EUS can accurately determine how deeply a tumor penetrates the gut wall and helps determine whether cancer has spread to adjacent lymph nodes. Accurate staging is crucial in determining what type of therapy is appropriate. Early-stage tumors can often be treated with endoscopic therapy or surgery. Advanced-stage tumors usually require chemotherapy and radiation, followed by surgery. On occasions, detecting advanced disease with EUS may prevent unhelpful and invasive therapy. EUS can also be used to diagnose the cause of abdominal pain or abnormal weight loss, such as gallstones, bile duct stones, or chronic pancreatitis.

Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is state-of-the art technology that allows for detailed pictures of the intestinal tract and organs adjacent to the intestinal tract. The test involves passing a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope into the upper or lower GI tract. With EUS, the doctor then turns on the ultrasound component attached to the endoscope to produce soundwaves that create visual images of the digestive tract. The ultrasound creates an image of the underlying area. Thus, the physician can get a view of the tissues and organs beneath the intestinal surface. When combined with fine-needle aspiration, EUS is a minimally invasive, alternative to exploratory surgery to remove tissue samples from abdominal and other organs.

EUS can be used to evaluate:

  • Esophageal cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer and precancerous cysts
  • Rectal cancer
  • Gastric/stomach tumors and nodules
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Barrett’s esophagus with high-grade dysplasia
  • Neuroendocrine tumors
  • Gastric cancer/MALT lymphoma
  • Lung cancer

EUS can also be used to diagnose the cause of abdominal pain or abnormal weight loss, such as gallstones, bile duct stones, or chronic pancreatitis. Or, if your doctor has ruled out certain conditions, EUS can confirm your diagnosis and offer reassurance.

In general, EUS is a very safe procedure. Complications during EUS are a rare occurrence when performed by an experienced physician. During the procedure, patients are routinely monitored to minimize risks of complications from medications. Complications are similar to those reported with standard endoscopy (EGD) of the upper gastrointestinal tract, which include sore throat, bleeding, perforation, or heart or lung problems. There is a small risk of infection when a fine needle biopsy is performed on a cystic growth, or pancreatitis when the pancreas is biopsied. Antibiotics may be administered before and after the procedure to reduce the risk of infection.

Note: The information in this section is provided as a supplement to information discussed with your healthcare provider. It is not intended to serve as a complete description of a particular topic or substitute for a clinic visit.