Center for Digestive Diseases

UNM Hospitals Center
for Digestive Diseases

1001 Martin Luther King Ave. NE
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87106

(505)272-2530 or

UNMH: (505)272-6839
CDD: (505)925-7849

Endoscopic Ultrasound

What is Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS )?

Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) is a relatively new technology.  EUS is an outpatient procedure that is performed with either sedation or general anesthesia.  An experienced gastroenterologist with specialized training inserts a flexible illuminated camera attached with a sensitive miniature ultrasound into the mouth or anus and advances the camera to the desired location.  A combination of endoscopy and ultrasound is used for accurate diagnosis and staging of a number of gastrointestinal and pancreatic diseases.

The EUS program at the UNM division of Gastroenterology is the largest EUS program in the state of New Mexico and is a leading program in Southwest United States with close to 700- 800 procedures performed annually.

Why is EUS performed ?

This procedure helps to visualize various digestive organs including the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, gallbladder and rectum. This technique is helpful in early diagnosis of small tumors of the digestive organs including the pancreas which is not well seen with conventional CT scan or MRI.  EUS helps in diagnosis of inoperable cancer and saves unnecessary surgery and helps improve quality of life.

What is EUS guided Needle Aspiration Biopsy?

EUS technique also provides the ability to perform needle biopsies of tumors, lymph nodes and abnormal areas during the procedure. The tissue diagnosis is helpful in the treatment of a number of cancers. EUS is also very useful in performing nerve block for abdominal pain related to pancreatic cancer and chronic pancreatitis as well as drainage of pancreatic cysts.

What preparation is required?

An empty stomach allows for the best and safest EUS examination of the upper gastrointestinal tract.  EUS of the rectum or colon will require a bowel cleansing preparation in order for your colon and rectum to be clean enough for a good examination.  Therefore, you should have nothing to eat or drink for six hours before your procedure and you may need to complete a bowel cleansing preparation.  If you have any questions about dietary recommendations, please call the UNMH endoscopy center at 505 272 0781 (Fax: 505 925 6160).

Procedure Preparation Instructions

Can I take my current medications?

Most medications can be continued as usual, but your doctor may recommend to stop some medications such as blood thinners, ie warfarin (Coumadin), enoxaparin (lovenox), clopidogrel (Plavix). Tell your doctor about all your medications and your allergies.  If there are any medications that you are not sure about taking, please consult your doctor beforehand or call the UNMH endoscopy center at 505 272 0781 (Fax: 505 925 6160).

What happens during EUS?

EUS is an outpatient procedure that is well tolerated and performed with either conscious sedation administered by a registered nurse, or general anesthesia, administered by an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist.  You will lie on your side while the doctor slowly inserts a flexible endoscope through your mouth or anus and advances the endoscope to the location of interest.  The doctor will perform ultrasound of the area of interest and examine the lining again as he or she slowly withdraws the endoscope. Biopsy through the endoscope may be performed during your procedure to help your doctor distinguish between benign (non-cancerous) and cancerous conditions.  There are no nerve endings in the lining of your gastrointestinal tract and biopsy will not be painful.  The procedure itself usually takes approximately 45 minutes, although you should plan to be at our endoscopy center for approximately four hours. This will include the registration, preparation, the procedure and one to two hours of recovery time.

What happens after EUS?

The doctor will explain the results to you.  If biopsies or other samples were obtained, your doctor will send you a letter with those results within 1-2 weeks. Due to the use of anesthesia or sedation during your procedure someone will need to drive you home from the endoscopy center and stay with you. Even if you feel alert, your reflexes and judgment may be impaired. You will not be able to work for the rest of the day. In most cases you will be able to eat after the examination, but occasionally the doctor will recommend a limited diet.

What are possible complications of EUS procedure ?

EUS is generally safe when performed by a gastroenterologist trained and experienced in these procedures.  Complications from EUS are rare and similar to that of standard endoscopic examinations.  Possible complications include: mild sore throat, infection (rare), reactions to the sedatives or complications of heart of lung disease, bleeding (rare), bowel perforation/tear (very rare). Bleeding usually stops on its own or can be controlled during the endoscopy; rarely blood transfusion is necessary.  If perforation occurs your doctor will recommend hospitalization, antibiotics and possibly surgery.