This page will give you information about an endoscopic ultrasound. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.
You can also download and print a PDF version of this factsheet, with space for your own questions or notes.
What is an endoscopic ultrasound?
An endoscopic ultrasound is a procedure to look at the lining of your oesophagus (gullet), stomach and duodenum using a flexible telescope.
The telescope has an ultrasound scanner attached to it so the endoscopist (the person doing the endoscopic ultrasound) can scan structures beneath the lining of your intestines such as your bile ducts and pancreas.
What are the benefits of an endoscopic ultrasound?
You may already have had a test that has shown that you have an abnormality. An endoscopic ultrasound can be used to get close-up scans to help your doctor to decide on the best treatment for you.
Are there any alternatives to an endoscopic ultrasound?
A CT scan can give some information about an abnormality. However, it is not as accurate as an endoscopic ultrasound. An endoscopic ultrasound is the best way of finding out more about a problem beneath the lining of your upper digestive system.
What does the procedure involve?
An endoscopic ultrasound usually takes 15 to 20 minutes.
If appropriate, the endoscopist may offer you a sedative to help you to relax.
The endoscopist will place a flexible telescope (endoscope) into the back of your throat, through your oesophagus and down into your stomach. From here the endoscope will pass into your duodenum.
The endoscopist will be able to look at the lining of these organs and will be able to take ultrasound images of deeper structures.
What complications can happen?
- sore throat
- allergic reaction
- breathing difficulties or heart irregularities
- damage to teeth or bridgework
- making a hole in your oesophagus, stomach or duodenum
- incomplete procedure
How soon will I recover?
If you were not given a sedative, you should be able to go home straightaway.
If you were given a sedative, you will usually recover in about an hour. You may feel a bit bloated for a few hours but this will pass.
You should be able to return to work the next day unless you are told otherwise.
The healthcare team will tell you what was found during the endoscopic ultrasound and discuss with you any treatment or follow-up you need.
Regular exercise should improve your long-term health. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.
An endoscopic ultrasound is usually a safe and effective way of finding out more about a problem in the lining of your upper digestive system and in structures beneath the lining.
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Last reviewed: September 2018