When it comes to assessing the condition of the GI tract and lungs, endoscopic ultrasound is the best procedure one can think of. Requiring minimal amount of invasion, this procedure helps the surgeons get a better view of the lining of the GI tract, lungs, nearby organs and the lymph nodes. Endoscopic ultrasound makes use of sound waves to create images of the internal organs.
What is Endoscopic Ultrasound?
A small flexible tube (endoscope) is lowered through the mouth into the oesophagus. The endoscope has a camera attached at its tip along with an ultrasound device. It helps the doctors get more detailed images of the organs along with ultrasound images. These high-quality images allow them to make deductions that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible with the normal ultrasounds that take images with waves from outside the body. The procedure can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and usually requires no post-op care.
Endoscopic ultrasound being more detailed and thorough in its results has proved to be quiet beneficial to the doctors and the surgeons alike. It helps them diagnose and treat a lot of health issues. Some of the many problems, endoscopic ultrasound assists in include:
- Finding and identifying lesions in the GI tract and lungs
- Diagnosing diseases of pancreas or liver
- Studying the tumours in lungs, liver or pancreas and
- Diagnosing the reasons for bowel leakage
- Studying the spread of cancer to help with the treatment
What is even better is the fact that EUS is being used with various other techniques to expand its horizon and make it available for many other uses. It is used with needle aspirations to diagnose and treat issues.
Being fairly non-invasive, it helps the doctors clearly study and analyse the insides of stomach, oesophagus, and lungs lining. This approach has led them to study the tumours and bumps in the linings more thoroughly and asses the spread of cancer in these regions. This technique is often carried out after a CT scan or an MRI produced results that require more detail. In the recent times, EUS is being used along with endoscopic video camera and aspiration needles to provide better therapeutic treatment.
Although, it is fairly safe but still it has some complications that one should be aware of before going for the procedure. Most of these complications can be avoided if the person goes to an expert for the procedure and follows the pre-procedure preparation thoroughly like fasting before the procedure, taking laxatives to clear the stomach etc. Some of the common risks are:
- Perforation in the oesophagus and lungs lining
- If fine needle aspiration is used, then bleeding and pancreatitis is possible
- Allergy to sedatives that are used
So after an EUS, it is important that one consults the doctor immediately in case he faces issues like fever, vomiting, chest pain or dark coloured stool. EUS is fairly risk free and with little precautions, it can help the doctors take better medical decisions.