Ask An Expert About Endoscopic Ultrasound

Posted on May 26, 2015

Vinod K. Kurupath, M.D.

Vinod K. Kurupath, M.D.

Vinod K. Kurupath, M.D.

Gastroenterology

Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation

I have been diagnosed with a digestive disorder and I may be a candidate for an endoscopic ultrasound. What are the benefits of this procedure?

 In conventional endoscopy, the gastroenterologist can only view the innermost lining of the digestive tract. Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) allows a doctor to get very close to the gastrointestinal tract, pancreas, liver and gallbladder and look beyond the inner layers.

It provides a much wider view and includes details not seen with a CT or MRI scan. EUS is also much safer than a CT scan, which uses radiation.

The video camera on the flexible EUS scope allows a doctor to see the layers of the gastrointestinal tract and  nearby organs and to diagnose conditions that may be missed with conventional endoscopy. Diagnoses can help manage conditions such as unexplained abdominal pain.

EUS also helps determine the size and location of a tumor and whether it has spread to lymph nodes, blood vessels or other structures. This provides information on the cancer’s stage, which relates to your prognosis.

For example, a growth or mass detected on one of your internal organs can be further evaluated under EUS —without making an incision – to help doctors better understand its nature and prescribe the best treatment option for you.

A thin needle — that does not cause pain – can be passed through the endoscope into the tumor to obtain tissue samples. This type of biopsy is called fine-needle aspiration. Cells obtained from the biopsy are examined with a microscope to see if they are cancerous.

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