Endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS) uses traditional endoscopic procedures with ultrasound technology. Advanced endoscopy physicians use upper EUS to examine tissue and walls of the upper digestive tract, such as the esophagus and stomach lining, as well as the pancreas, gallbladder and surrounding organs. An upper EUS can confirm the presence of certain medical conditions of the digestive system without the need for more advanced procedures.

Your gastroenterologist may recommend an upper EUS if you have:

  • unexplained abdominal pain
  • abnormal weight loss
  • pancreatitis or pancreatic cysts
  • abnormal liver tests or jaundice
  • previously detected lumps or lesions in the upper GI tract
  • GI cancers, including:
    • esophageal
    • gastric
    • duodenal
    • pancreas
    • gallbladder
    • bile duct
    • liver

During the procedure, a physician passes an endoscope, or narrow, flexible tube, that includes a miniature ultrasound probe through your mouth and esophagus to the area under study. The ultrasound waves create detailed images that provide valuable information about your upper digestive tract.

How to Prepare for EUS

  • You may have diet and/or medication restrictions (especially aspirin and other anti-inflammatory products) several days before the exam. For instance, you may not be allowed to take certain over-the-counter painkillers.
  • If you are on Coumadin or other blood thinning medications, please contact your primary care physician. Notify your gastroenterologist if your physician feels you need to continue on your medication.
  • You will not be allowed any food or liquids (including water) for at least 6 hours before the procedure.
  • Plan to take the day off from work.
  • Plan to have someone you know drive you home. Because the procedure is usually performed with intravenous (IV) sedation or monitored anesthesia care (MAC), you will not be allowed to drive or return to work until the next day.
  • Let your physician know about any special needs, medical conditions, allergies (such as latex) and all current medications you are taking.
  • The GI Lab staff will try to contact you the evening before your procedure to answer any questions you may have.

What to Expect Once You Arrive for EUS

  • Plan to arrive in the GI Lab 30 minutes before your scheduled procedure time.
  • You will have an intravenous line placed because the procedure is usually performed with intravenous sedation or monitored anesthesia. An anesthesiologist may meet with you to discuss your sedation plan.
  • You will be asked if there is someone available to drive you home after the procedure. The procedure will not be performed if you do not have a driver available to pick you up afterwards in the GI Lab.
  • You will be positioned on your left side.
  • In most cases, the procedure usually takes between 60 to 90 minutes.
  • During the procedure, you may feel pressure in the abdominal area.
  • Your physician may take biopsies, or small tissue samples; remove polyps or tumors; or aspirate cysts.

What to Expect After EUS

  • After the procedure is completed, you will recover in the GI Lab for about 30 to 45 minutes.
  • You may experience a sore throat.
  • Once you have met the discharge criteria, your physician will discuss the preliminary findings with you and let you know if you have to undergo additional testing. You also will find out when you can resume taking your usual medications. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics after the procedure.
  • After the recovery period, you can return home and usually eat right away.
  • If you had intravenous sedation or monitored anesthesia, you will not be allowed to drive or return to work until the next day.
  • You will receive written discharge instructions to take home. This information will include diet, medication and other follow-up instructions.

For More Information

This procedure is available at our Evanston and Highland Park GI Lab locations. For more information or to schedule an appointment with an advanced endoscopist, please call 847.570.2030.

NorthShore offers interpretive language services for non-English speaking patients. A request for this no-cost service should be made at the time of appointment scheduling.

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