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Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) is a minimally invasive procedure used to assess disorders of the digestive (gastrointestinal) tract and other nearby organs and tissues. The procedure combines the use of a thin, flexible tube (endoscope) inserted into the gastrointestinal tract and a device that uses sound waves to create images (Ultrasound).

The surrounding organs and tissues, including the lungs, pancreas, gallbladder, liver, and lymph nodes, are also clearly visible in the high-resolution images created by high-frequency sound waves. 

Possible Risks of Endoscopic Ultrasound

An endoscopy is considered to be a fairly safe procedure. Physicians often ensure that the advantages of undergoing an endoscopy exceed any potential complications.

Possible risks include:

  • Sore throat
  • Bloating
  • Bleeding
  • Small tear
  • Fluid going into the lungs
  • Shortness of breath

The Need for Endoscopic Ultrasound

Endoscopic ultrasound and endoscopic-guided procedures can be used for the following:

  • Evaluate tissue damage brought on by inflammation or illness
  • Identify the presence of cancer and whether it has progressed to the lymph nodes
  • Determine the extent of a cancerous (malignant) tumor’s tissue invasion
  • Determine the stage of cancer
  • Give more specific details regarding lesions found using different imaging techniques
  • Remove tissue fluid for diagnostic testing
  • Drain cyst fluids
  • Deliver treatments to a specific area, such as a cancerous tumor

Preparation for an Endoscopic Ultrasound

The patient might have a blood test two days beforehand to check how well his/her blood clots. The doctor should be informed if the patient is taking any medication that affects how blood clots.

One should not eat for 6 to 8 hours before the test. However, he/she might be able to drink sips of water up to 2 hours before the appointment.

The Procedure

  • Upon arrival at the hospital, the patient will change into a hospital gown.
  • The nurse then puts a cannula (a small plastic tube) into the patient’s vein on the arm to deliver the sedative.
  • After the sedative has taken effect, the endoscopist sprays the back of the patient’s throat with a local anesthetic to numb it.
  • The doctor can assess the malignancy and determine how far it has spread into the tissues by using an ultrasound, which builds out a picture using sound waves. Additionally, they might be able to see if the lymph nodes in the area are swollen (enlarged).

After the Procedure

After the procedure, the patient will stay in the endoscopy unit for a couple of hours to recover. One might not be able to eat or drink for about an hour until the local anesthetic throat spray wears off.

The patient can go home the same day, though one can’t drive for 24 hours after having been sedated.

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