Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) in New Orleans, LA

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What exactly is an EUS (endoscopic ultrasound)?

An endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is a procedure where a thin, pliable tube, or "scope" is inserted through the mouth and carefully advanced into the beginning of the small intestine, known as the duodenum, or inserted into the rectum to inspect the large intestine. The scope is equipped with a light and a camera to allow your gastroenterologist adequate visual ability to carefully assess the lining of the esophagus, stomach, upper section of the small intestine, or rectum. The EUS can perform as a regular endoscope, but unlike a regular endoscope, the EUS also has an ultrasound probe which gives the ability to examine the entire GI tract using ultrasound waves. These ultrasound waves allow the provider to see the various layers of the intestinal wall along with other organs in the body. An EUS can be used for a variety of diagnostic measures such as evaluating abnormalities in the intestinal walls or other organs like the pancreas, biliary system, and chest. Endoscopic ultrasounds can also be used to help stage cancer. The expert gastroenterologists at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates use endoscopic ultrasounds frequently to assist patients on the road to better GI health. If you are having issues involving your GI tract, an endoscopic ultrasound might be required to help diagnose and treat the source of your condition. To learn more about scheduling an endoscopic ultrasound in New Orleans, LA, contact us today.

Why might I need an endoscopic ultrasound?

There are many reasons why an endoscopic ultrasound might be necessary. Some of the main reasons your provider might request an EUS include:

  • Evaluate stones found in bile ducts
  • To check for sarcoidosis (inflammatory disease)
  • Barrett’s Esophagus assessment
  • To determine stages of cancer
  • Study abnormalities or tumors found in organs such as the gallbladder and liver
  • Study nodules in the intestinal wall
  • Pancreatic disorder assessment
  • Diagnose fecal incontinence: assess the anal canal and muscles of the lower rectum

To schedule an endoscopic ultrasound in New Orleans, LA or to learn more about evaluating and treating your GI tract using EUS, contact your Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates provider today to request a consultation.

What should be expected the day before my EUS?

Instructions on how to prepare for your endoscopic ultrasound will be provided to you by your Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates gastroenterologist. Typically, most patients are allowed to eat normally the day leading up to the exam. You will be given directions not to consume anything orally, other than medications, after midnight. All instructions given to you by your provider must be followed to ensure that your exam goes smoothly. You may also receive additional instructions regarding your medications. Generally, medications can be continued normally, however, for some individuals, especially those on blood thinners (i.e. Coumadin®, Plavix®, aspirin, anti-inflammatories) and diabetics, you may receive special instructions from your provider.

What happens on the day of my exam?

Typically, you will be asked to arrive at the endoscopy center 1 – 1.5 hours before your EUS is scheduled to prepare for the exam and fill out any necessary paperwork. You will change into a procedure gown and an IV catheter will be started in your arm to allow for the sedation medication to be administered. During the exam, and for a bit afterward, you will have equipment attached to you that will allow the medical staff to effectively monitor your oxygen, heart rate, pulse, blood pressure, breathing, and electrocardiogram.

When you enter the examination room, you will lie on your left side on the examination table. The sedation medication will be started in small amounts to ensure that you do not have any reactions and that only the necessary amount is used. Once the proper sedation level has been reached, the endoscope will be carefully inserted into the mouth and advanced through the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. To aid in visualization, a small amount of air is inserted through the scope and into the GI tract. The scope is also used to suction out any remaining fluid in the upper gastrointestinal tract. Several procedures can be done during the exam depending on what your provider discovers including removal of polyp, biopsies, and control of bleeding. When the procedure is concluded, the scope will be used to remove as much air and remaining liquid as possible. Depending on the findings and what procedures take place, the exam can take anywhere between 30 – 60 minutes.

When the exam is finished, you will need to be monitored in the recovery room while the sedation medication wears off. The length of time it takes to wake up from the sedation will be dictated by the amount of medication required for sedation and your individual response to it. Generally, most patients are awake and ready for discharge within 45 – 60 minutes after the procedure is complete. Due to the use of sedation medication, there will be some restrictions put in place. You will not be allowed to drive for the remainder of the day, so it will be necessary for you to have a ride home previously arranged. You will also be given instructions not to work, perform laborious activities, or sign important documents for the rest of the day. Following discharge, most patients can eat and drink as normal, however, you will be given specific instructions before leaving regarding activities, eating, and medications.

The results will be reviewed with you following the exam. It is recommended that you bring someone with you on the day of the exam that can be there when the results are discussed because most patients do not remember what they are told after the exam due to the sedation medication used during the procedure. When you are discharged, you will receive a typed report of the results and any biopsy results will be reported to you within one week.

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Are there any risks with having an endoscopic ultrasound?

Generally, endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is a procedure that is very safe with complications occurring in fewer than 1% of patients. Most of the complications that do occur are not life-threatening but some may require hospitalization and surgery. Before having your endoscopic ultrasound, a member of the nursing staff will review a consent form with you. If you have any questions or concerns about the EUS, your provider will review them with you prior to the procedure being performed.

Sometimes, a patient will experience a reaction to sedation medications. Some of these reactions include, but are not limited to, difficulty breathing, allergic reactions, effects on blood pressure and the heart, and irritation of the vein used to administer the sedation medication.

When performing fine needle aspirations or biopsies, bleeding can occur. Significant bleeding that might result in a blood transfusion or hospitalization, however, is a very rare complication.

During the exam, a rare issue that might arise is a perforation or puncture of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, or rectum. This complication might be noticed or it may become prevalent later on in the day after the examination has been completed. Generally, a perforation will require a surgical procedure and hospitalization. This complication is very uncommon, even when fine needle aspiration or biopsies are performed during the procedure.

If any symptoms arise following the procedure, such as bleeding, fever, or worsening abdominal pain, contact your Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates provider immediately.

Like all exams, the EUS is not a perfect test. There is a small, understood risk that some issues, including malignancies, may be missed during the exam. It is imperative that you contact your provider immediately if you have any new, persistent, or worsening symptoms and to continue with regular follow-up care as instructed.

What are the alternatives to EUS?

The alternatives to an endoscopic ultrasound, to some degree, will depend on the reason that the EUS was requested to begin with. Most often, the endoscopic ultrasound evaluates and treats abnormalities in the GI tract better than any alternative available. X-rays like a transabdominal ultrasound, CT-scan, and MRI can all analyze the GI tract, but they are simply diagnostic exams. To schedule an endoscopic ultrasound in New Orleans, LA or to learn more about evaluating and treating your GI tract using EUS, contact your Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates provider today to request a consultation.

Advanced ultrasound technology

When you are struggling with uncomfortable GI symptoms, your gastroenterologist may suggest an endoscopic ultrasound to diagnose the source of your symptoms and discover any underlying conditions. At Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates, we are a physician-led network of gastroenterologists who strive to use state-of-the-art technology to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of all of your GI concerns. If you or a loved one is struggling with GI symptoms and is in need of an endoscopic ultrasound in New Orleans, LA to determine the cause, contact our team to request a consultation with a GI specialist without delay.

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