Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)

What is an Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)?

 An endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is used to evaluate the digestive tract. This diagnostic procedure may be recommended to diagnose GI conditions or various forms of cancer. Your Charleston gastroenterology specialist may recommend an endoscopic ultrasound to check for one of the following:

  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Gastric cancer
  • Rectal cancer

During the procedure, a special endoscope is inserted in your mouth or rectum and maneuvered to the problem area. The ultrasound transmits images from within the digestive tract, allowing your GI doctor to visualize any abnormalities.


Why Do I Need an Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)?

A EUS procedure provides your gastroenterology specialist with a unique view of your GI tract as well as detailed imaging of the pancreas. For this reason, it is a proven way to check for pancreatic conditions, such as:

  • Pancreatic masses and tumors
  • Pancreatic cysts
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Autoimmune pancreatitis
  • Acute pancreatitis

 Pancreatic concerns are one of the most common reasons that patients receive an endoscopic ultrasound. The EUS procedure may follow abnormal findings detected on abdominal ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, or blood test. Specific types of abdominal pain may also warrant an endoscopic ultrasound. Your GI doctor may recommend a EUS procedure if you have one of the following:

  • Dilated pancreatic duct or bile duct
  • Swollen/inflamed pancreas
  • Suspected stones/blockage in the pancreas or bile duct
  • History of recurrent acute pancreatitis episodes

Because these symptoms may indicate a benign or malignant condition, it is important to discuss them with your Charleston gastroenterology specialist.

How To Prep For An Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) 

To prepare, do not eat or drink anything for approximately 8 hours before your EUS procedure. Patients are usually asked to refrain from eating or drinking after midnight the night before.

Your GI doctor may also ask you not to take blood-thinning medications (aspirin, Plavix, Eliquis, Brilinta, Xarelto, Pradaxa, Coumadin, etc.) for a specific length of time leading up to your procedure. Ask your physician if you should take your other medications the morning of your endoscopic ultrasound. Note: It is extremely important that you tell your gastroenterologist which medications you are on. Also, if you have a history of heart or lung disease, you may need to get a letter from your heart or lung specialist stating that it is safe for you to be sedated and to get an endoscopic ultrasound.

Since you will be given a sedative to prevent pain and help you relax, you will not be allowed to drive home after your EUS procedure. Make sure to designate someone to drive you home and help with discharge instructions. Plan to rest at home for the remainder of the day!

Upper EUS vs Lower EUS

Upper EUS
Give your doctor a list of all the medications you are taking and any allergies you have. Be sure to include the following:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) medications (like NSAIDs and aspirin)
  • Vitamins/supplements

Ask your GI doctor if you should take your medications before your upper EUS – both the night before and the morning of. Remember to tell your doctor if you:

  • Have diabetes and are taking medication for it
  • Are taking blood thinners or have bleeding/blood-clotting issues
  • Have a pacemaker or other implanted electromedical devices
  • Have had stomach or bowel surgery, swallowing problems or other gastrointestinal (GI) problems
  • Have heart, lung, or any other health problems that may need special care before the EUS procedure

Lower EUS

In addition to following the instructions listed above, you will need to take a bowel prep to cleanse your colon before your lower EUS. Follow your GI specialist’s directions carefully. 

Also, make sure to follow any instructions about what and when you can eat or drink before your lower EUS. Dietary restrictions often depend on your bowel-cleansing preparation and sedation. Because lower EUS procedures are not typically painful, sedation may not be required. If sedation is recommended, please be sure to arrange a ride home and plan to rest for the remainder of the day.

What to Expect at Your Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)

On the day of your EUS procedure, an IV catheter will likely be placed in your hand or arm to deliver intravenous fluids and sedatives during the procedure. Your vital signs will be monitored throughout.

A small nasal cannula will be placed in your nose to provide oxygen and a small plastic “bite block” may be placed between your teeth to prevent any accidental biting of the scope during the EUS procedure.

Sedatives will be injected into your IV before the procedure begins. The endoscopic ultrasound typically lasts from 20 to 45 minutes and most patients do not experience any discomfort.

After An Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)

When the EUS procedure has been completed, you will be moved to a recovery area. Then, once you are fully awake, you will be offered a small snack and/or beverage. Of note, most recovery periods last from about 20 minutes to an hour. 

Before being discharged, you will meet with your GI doctor to discuss the next steps, including when you can expect results from the procedure. Be sure to follow any post-procedure instructions from your gastroenterologist about taking medication and resuming your daily routine. 

Be sure to arrange for a friend or family member to drive you home and plan to relax for the rest of the day. You may experience some minor discomfort, like a mild sore throat (upper EUS) or slight bloating/cramping (lower EUS), for about a day. If you experience more serious symptoms or have any questions, contact your Charleston gastroenterology specialist.


Endoscopic Ultrasound FAQs

  1. Is endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) an invasive procedure?
    Endoscopic ultrasound is a safe, minimally invasive procedure. To learn more about what to expect, contact your GI specialist today.

  2. How long does an endoscopic ultrasound take?
    The procedure typically lasts about 20 to 45 minutes but can take slightly more or less time.

  3. How do you feel after a EUS?
    No major pain is expected after the procedure but some patients experience slight discomfort; mild throat soreness (upper EUS) or slight bloating/cramping (lower EUS) may occur but these symptoms typically self-resolve within 24 hours. Your GI doctor will monitor you for about an hour after the procedure before sending you home. And don’t forget to arrange for a ride!

  4. Can I eat or drink before EUS?
    No. Your GI doctor will likely advise you not to eat or drink anything 8 hours prior to arriving for your EUS procedure. Doing so could cause your procedure to be canceled. 

  5. Can I drive or work after a EUS procedure?
    No, you are required to have a ride home. You should also plan to rest at home for the remainder of the day.

Schedule Your EUS at Charleston GI Today!

Although your EUS will likely be performed at the hospital, Charleston GI will arrange for your follow-up visit to be scheduled at one of our four easy-to-find locations in Summerville, Carnes Crossroads, Mt. Pleasant, and West Ashley. We also have three endoscopy centers, where we perform endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) procedures: Lowcountry Endoscopy Center, West Ashley Endoscopy Center, and Summerville Endoscopy Center. 

Plus, Charleston GI’s open-access colonoscopy program makes it easier than ever before to schedule diagnostic and screening procedures. Given that no referral is needed, it is easy to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified Charleston gastroenterology specialists today!