Why is EUS performed?

EUS is used to help diagnose a number of gastrointestinal disorders.  The following is a list of common indications for EUS.

 

Stage gastrointestinal cancers (determine how advanced the cancer is)
Detection and biopsy of solid or cystic tumors within the pancreas
Detection of small stones in the bile ducts
Evaluation of recurrent acute pancreatitis
Evaluation of small “lumps or bumps” (i.e. submucosal tumors) seen within the intestinal tract on general endoscopy
Treatment of pain associated with advanced pancreatic cancer or chronic pancreatitis (i.e. EUS-guided celiac plexus neurolysis)
Drainage of pseudocysts associated with complications from either acute or chronic pancreatitis (typically require overnight observation/hospitalization following the procedure)
 
Your physician may need to perform a biopsy (fine-needle aspiration or FNA) during the procedure to confirm the diagnosis.  A thin needle is passed through the endoscope and across the intestinal wall under ultrasound-guidance into the tissue of interest.  The sample is then sent to the pathology lab for analysis.  A biopsy may help to confirm the presence of cancer or whether the cancer has spread to other organs.  EUS-guided FNA is generally a low-risk procedure with higher diagnostic accuracy when compared to conventional radiological techniques (i.e. ultrasound or CT-guided biopsy).