What is an endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)?

An endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is like an endoscopy, but the endoscope has an ultrasound probe on the tip. The probe uses sound waves to make pictures of organs in the body.

It is usually used to measure the cancer and to see if it has spread (staging). This includes looking at nearby lymph nodes, and taking tissue samples (biopsies) if needed. It can also be used to help diagnose some types of cancer.

Before an endoscopic ultrasound

Your doctor or nurse will explain what an endoscopic ultrasound is and what to expect. They will tell you if you need to do anything beforehand. For example, if you should not eat or drink for a period of time before the procedure.

The doctor will give you a sedative to help you relax. They also spray a local anaesthetic on to the back of your throat to numb it.

Having an endoscopic ultrasound

The doctor passes a small, flexible tube (endoscope) through your mouth, down your throat and into the food pipe (oesophagus). The oesophagus is just behind your windpipe and close to some lymph nodes inside the chest. They may pass it further in to your stomach and into the small bowel (duodenum). This will depend on what areas of the body the doctor wants to look at.

The ultrasound also helps guide the specialist doctor to the area they want to take samples of tissue (biopsies) from.

After an endoscopic ultrasound

Most people are ready to go home a couple of hours after the test. It is a good idea to arrange for someone to collect you from the hospital. This is because you should not drive for 24 hours after having a sedative.

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