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Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)

Diagnosing Gastrointestinal Cancers Without Exploratory Surgery

Using Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS), a more accurate procedure to diagnose certain gastrointestinal cancers, Mercy Health Lacks Cancer Center physicians can now detect tumors, take biopsy samples, provide cancer staging, and in many cases treat conditions without conventional surgery. Dr. Brad Morrow at Mercy Health Lacks Cancer Center is the most experienced specialist in West Michigan performing EUS.

What is EUS?

Endoscopic Ultrasound, EUS for short, is a procedure that combines the technology of a standard upper GI endoscopy with that of ultrasound imaging. A flexible, lighted endoscope with a small ultrasound probe at its tip is used. This instrument provides both a visual examination of the lining of the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract and a sound wave examination of the wall of the GI tract. Furthermore, sound wave images can be obtained of surrounding organs, blood vessels, and lymph nodes. EUS is therefore a valuable and versatile procedure that provides significant information to assist diagnosis and management of a variety of gastrointestinal disorders.

What types of cancers is EUS used for?

With this outpatient procedure, we can diagnose and determine the best treatment approach for cancer and tumors of the esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, certain lymph nodes, bile ducts, lungs, and other organs.

How does EUS work?

The flexible EUS scope is a remarkable piece of equipment that can be directed and moved around the many bends in the gastrointestinal tract. These video endoscopes have a tiny, optically sensitive computer chip at the end. Electronic signals are then transmitted up the scope to the computer, which then displays the image on a large video screen. An open channel in these scopes allows other instruments to be passed through in order to take tissue samples. The rotating probe at the tip of the endoscope provides real-time ultrasound images. Because the probe is inside the body, higher frequency, more detailed sound wave images of the gastrointestinal wall and nearby organs such as the pancreas are possible.

What can I expect during an EUS procedure?

You can expect compassionate care in the hands of a dedicated, competent physician. Dr. Morrow was specially trained at The Cleveland Clinic in endoscopic ultrasound.

Endoscopic ultrasound is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Patients are mildly sedated. The endoscope is then gently inserted down through the throat into the upper esophagus. The patient can breath easily throughout the exam. Other instruments can be passed through the endoscope to perform additional procedures if necessary. The exam takes from 30 to 45 minutes, after which the patient is taken to the recovery area. There is no pain with this procedure and patients seldom remember much about it.