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).