Endoscopic ultrasound

Doctors use endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) to assess gastrointestinal and lung diseases.

EUS can provide detailed, cost-effective, nonsurgical assessment of certain diseases. Because it can be technically demanding and complex, an experienced endoscopist should perform EUS.

EUS involves passing a thin, flexible tube (endoscope) through a patient’s mouth or anus. A small ultrasound transducer in the endoscope produces sound waves that create a viewable image of surrounding tissue. Doctors use EUS to examine the lining and walls of the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract and nearby organs such as the pancreas, liver, and gallbladder.

When combined with fine-needle aspiration, EUS is a minimally invasive alternative to exploratory surgery to remove tissue samples from abdominal and other organs. Doctors also use EUS to guide pseudocyst drainage, injections, and painkilling treatments.

Endoscopic ultrasound is used to:

  • Stage gastrointestinal and lung cancers, including esophageal, gastric, rectal and pancreatic cancers
    EUS can accurately determine how deeply a tumor penetrates the gut wall. Examining the size, shape and ultrasound appearance of adjacent lymph nodes also helps determine whether cancer has spread.
  • Detect common bile duct stones
    Stones in the bile tubes leading from the gallbladder to the intestine have traditionally been detected by an endoscopic retrograde cholangiogram (ERCP), an invasive test. EUS is less invasive and can detect these stones with equal accuracy.
  • Assess masses in the submucosal lining of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Assess enlarged stomach folds that may be involved with cancer deep in the stomach wall and unreachable by surface biopsies
  • Diagnose diseases of the internal organs, such as of the pancreas, such as chronic pancreatitis or cysts of the pancreas
  • Safely and accurately collect fluid samples from the lungs or the abdominal cavity for analysis.

Conditions diagnosed with endoscopic ultrasound

EUS may be used to determine the cause of symptoms such as abdominal pain, to evaluate a growth (tumor), or to diagnose diseases of the digestive tract and lungs.

Doctors use EUS to evaluate the following organs and problems:

  • Anal sphincter and incontinence
  • Barrett’s esophagus with high-grade dysplasia
  • Neuroendocrine tumors
  • Common bile duct stones
  • Gastric cancer/MALT lymphoma
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cystic neoplasms of the pancreas
  • Rectal cancer
  • Rectal fistulas
  • Smooth muscle tumors
  • Enlarged lymph nodes