6A Napier Road, Annexe Block #05-35C Gleneagles Hospital
Mount Alvernia Medical Centre A  #06-07,  820 Thomson Road

Endoscopic Ultrasound

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What is an endoscopic ultrasound?

As its name suggests, an endoscopic ultrasound is a combination of two techniques — an endoscopy and an ultrasound. It is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to identify any abnormalities within or near the digestive tract.

An endoscopic ultrasound uses an echoendoscope, which is an endoscope with an ultrasound probe at one end. This addition of the ultrasound probe enables your doctor to have a view of the digestive tract and its surrounding organs.

How does an endoscopic ultrasound work?

Ultrasounds in general work by sending sound waves out which bounce back when they reach an object. However, external ultrasounds may not be able to pick up on growths deep within our bodies.

An endoscopic ultrasound is the ideal solution as the sound waves are sent out within your body and it offers a more accurate view as it can identify small tumours and cysts which may be missed by other methods such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRT) or computerised tomography (CT) scan.
  • A sedative is administered to help ensure that the patient is asleep.
  • The echoendoscope is gently and carefully inserted into either your mouth or anus (depending on what type of endoscopic ultrasound you are having).
  • The images from your procedure will be transmitted to the monitor.
  • Your doctor will guide the echoendoscope and adjust to get good images.
  • If any abnormality is identified, a sample will be taken and sent for a biopsy.

How do I prepare for an endoscopic ultrasound?

An endoscopic ultrasound can be used in both your upper and lower digestive tract. If the procedure is performed in your upper digestive tract, you must refrain from drinking and eating for 6 hours prior. If the procedure is performed in your lower digestive tract, you will be provided with a laxative drink or an enema to help clear out your bowels.

Who needs an endoscopic ultrasound?

Your gastroenterologist may recommend an endoscopic ultrasound for the following issues:

  • Diagnosing chronic pancreatitis
  • Finding tumours or cysts in or around the digestive tract (such as pancreas, upper abdomen and chest)
  • Detecting bile duct stones
  • Detecting lymphoma or enlarged lymph nodes outside the digestive tract
  • Draining pancreatic inflammatory cysts
  • Administering treatment or medicine to the liver or pancreas
  • Diagnosing lung diseases (such as lung cancer)

What can I expect after an endoscopic ultrasound?

If the procedure involves your upper digestive tract, you might experience a mild sore throat and bloating, this is normal. You may go home if you are feeling well.

If the procedure involves your lower digestive tract, you might experience some mild rectal bleeding if samples were removed; this is normal and will resolve on its own. You might feel bloated and some mild cramping which should resolve in a few hours.

It may take a few hours for the effects of the sedation to wear off, hence, you are not advised to drive yourself home. You should have an accompanying relative or friend take you home, you may also take a taxi or private-hire vehicle.

What are the benefits of an endoscopic ultrasound?

  • Minimally invasive
  • Same-day procedure (40 minutes)
  • Early detection of cancer

What are the possible complications or risks of an endoscopic ultrasound?

There are minimal to no risks or complications involved in an endoscopic ultrasound, however, if they do occur, this is what to look out for:
  • Reaction to the sedative: Some patients may experience problems with their breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure which can usually be easily managed.
  • Perforation: A tear in the lining of the digestive tract, which can usually be treated with a scope if detected early.
  • Bleeding: Some bleeding might occur after a biopsy.
  • Pancreatitis: May rarely occur after an upper endoscopic ultrasound and biopsy of the pancreas.
  • Infection: Rarely infection of a pancreatic cyst may occur after a biopsy. This is usually managed with antibiotics.

Frequently asked questions

Will I have to stay overnight in the hospital?
No, an endoscopic ultrasound is a day surgery, which means you will be allowed to go home on the same day if no complications arise.
Is the procedure painful?
No, it is not painful as you will be sedated for the whole procedure. Rarely, you may feel some transient mild cramping and bloating after, but no pain.
What happens if the results of my biopsy are poor?
Your doctor will follow-up with you and guide you on the next steps to take.
How will I know if my bowel is empty and ready for the procedure?
You can tell by the colour of your stools. If they are dark and brown, your bowel is not empty. If they are light and colourless liquid, your bowel is empty and ready for the procedure.

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    We treat all types of gastrointestinal conditions and specialise in performing endoscopic procedures such as Advanced Endoscopy, ERCP and EUS
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    6A Napier Road, Annexe Block #05-35C Gleneagles Hospital
    Singapore 258500
    820 Thomson Road, #06-07 Mount Alvernia Medical Centre A Singapore 574623

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