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Endoscopic Ultrasound With Fine-Needle Aspiration

Endoscopic Ultrasound Procedure with Fine-Needle Aspiration

To see organs and structures that aren’t usually picked up by a typical endoscopy, the physician may use sound waves (ultrasound) to examine the layers of the gastrointestinal tract wall, pancreas, liver, bile ducts and lymph nodes.

The endoscopic ultrasound procedure with fine-needle aspiration is similar to an endoscopy, but also uses an ultrasound transducer that is able to direct a thin, hollow needle to extract a tissue sample, a process called fine-needle aspiration. The tissue’s cells will then be analyzed for different kinds of cancer and other conditions.

Reasons for the Endoscopic Ultrasound Procedure with Fine-Needle Aspiration

The endoscopic ultrasound procedure may be performed to diagnose structural or functional abnormalities of the esophagus, stomach and/or duodenum. These abnormalities may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
  • Weight loss or anorexia (loss of appetite)
  • Upper abdominal pain or chest pain of a noncardiac origin
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Intractable vomiting (continuous vomiting from an unknown cause)
  • Strictures (narrowing) or obstructions
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding and esophageal varices (enlarged veins in the esophagus)
  • Inflammation and ulcers
  • Tumors (benign or malignant)
  • Hiatal hernia – upward movement of the stomach, either into or alongside the esophagus
  • Damage caused by ingestion of caustic substances (chemicals such as lye or household detergents)

An endoscopic ultrasound procedure with fine-needle aspiration may be performed therapeutically to control bleeding, remove tumors or polyps (growths), dilate narrowed areas in the upper GI tract (e.g., esophagus), remove foreign objects, perform laser therapy, and place a percutaneous gastrostomy tube for tube feeding into the stomach.

Tissue samples (biopsies) or gastrointestinal fluid samples may be obtained via an endoscope. In addition, an endoscopic ultrasound procedure may be used to evaluate the stomach and duodenum after a surgery. There may be other reasons for the physician to recommend this procedure.