What is an Endoscopic Ultrasound?
Endoscopic Ultrasound is a procedure used to obtain images and information about the digestive tract and surrounding organs. Ultrasound uses sound waves to create pictures of organs. This procedure is only performed by physicians with additional training in endoscopic ultrasonography.
This procedure uses a small, light, flexible tube with a camera and ultrasound device attached (the whole device is called an echoendoscope). The patient is sedated prior to starting the procedure, and the endoscope is then inserted into the mouth or rectum. The physician can then see a picture of the inside of the intestinal tract through a TV monitor, and an ultrasound image on a separate monitor.
Ultrasound can also be used to help identify and collect tissue samples that will be tested for certain conditions. The entire procedure takes about 30 to 90 minutes and is considered an outpatient procedure.
Why Is It Done?
Endoscopic ultrasound is commonly used to identify and evaluate many different conditions, including:
- Determining the stage of different types of cancer
- Chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) & other pancreatic disorders
- Abnormalities & tumors in different organs, including gallbladder & liver
- Study musculature of lower rectum and anal canal to determine causes of fecal incontinence (involuntary loss of bowel contents)
- Identify & biopsy any abnormal growths found in upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract and surrounding structures
- Management of pain related to pancreatic cancer or chronic pancreatitis
This procedure is commonly used to identify malformations and masses in bile ducts and pancreatic ducts. Abnormal lymph nodes can also be identified and tissue samples collected. Endoscopic ultrasound can also be used to identify and investigate any inflammation or malignancies in the GI wall itself.
Endoscopic ultrasonography is an outpatient procedure but due to the nature of the test it is performed in one of our affiliated hospitals (Advocate Christ Medical Center, Little Company of Mary Hospital or Palos Community Hospital). Our physicians were the first to perform these procedures at all three hospitals. We make sure that all of our patients are comfortable and understand the procedure.
Whether you’ve been referred to us or are looking for a GI physician, please feel free to call us with any questions you may have. Our staff of friendly professionals will be happy to help!