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Endoscopic Ultrasound

This test combines an endoscopy with ultrasound. It can give a very clear and accurate picture of your gullet (oesophagus), stomach, pancreas and bile duct. The procedure is the same as for an endoscopy. An endoscope is a long, flexible tube with a bright light and a camera on the end of it. It is used for looking inside the body. In EUS, this is combined with high frequency sound waves, transmitted from an ultrasound probe at the tip of the endoscope. This allows a scan of the surrounding organs.

Preparation: The hospital will give you clear written information about will happen. You will be asked not to eat or drink anything for at least 6 hours before the scan. You will be given a sedative injection in your arm with a drug to make you sleepy and relaxed.

Procedure: When you are ready, a thin tube will be put in to one nostril to give you some extra oxygen, and a plastic mouthpiece will be put gently between your teeth to keep your mouth open. The endoscope is passed through the mouthpiece, down the gullet, into the stomach, and into the small bowel. You will be able to breathe normally. It will take about 20 minutes to complete the examination. During this time your pulse and oxygen levels are monitored. If there is too much saliva in your mouth, a nurse will use a suction hose to suck it out.

Afterwards, you will be taken to a recovery room. Any discomfort should soon go.

If you have been sedated, you will have side-effects. You will be sleepy and forgetful. For this reason you must have someone to take you home and stay with you whilst you rest for the day. For the 24 hours following the injection, you must not drive a car or motorbike, operate machinery, take any alcohol or sign legal documents.

The procedure is safe. However there is a small risk of problems. These include bleeding, tearing of the bowel, and an allergic reaction to sedative drugs. Your doctor will explain the risks to you beforehand.