Endoscopic Ultrasound

Your doctor has requested an endoscopic ultrasound procedure for you. This procedure uses sound waves to search for lesions, tumors, and other abnormalities in your esophagus (the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach), your stomach, the duodenum (the first part of your small intestine), and large intestine.

A special instrument called an ultrasound probe is used to send sound waves through your body. The probe is attached to the tip of an endoscope, a lighted tube that allows your doctor to look inside your digestive tract. The probe also receives signals as the sound waves bounce off your stomach walls. These signals are converted
into pictures and displayed on a monitor in the operating room while your doctor performs the procedure.


Do not take any over-the-counter medication except acetaminophen (Tylenol®, for instance, is OK) during the week before the test unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Ask your doctor whether you should continue taking any prescription medications he or she may have prescribed for you. If you have diabetes, discuss your insulin dosage with your doctor.


If you are taking the test as an outpatient, you must arrange for a family member or other responsible person to accompany you to the hospital and take you home when your test is completed. At the hospital, you will receive a sedative medication, so you will not be able to drive for several hours. It is not recommended that you use public transportation; someone you trust should drive you home.

The night before your examination, you will be told not to eat or drink anything after midnight. Use only small sips of water if you must take prescription medication.

Before the examination

You will be asked to sign a consent form to give your permission for the examination. The form states that you understand the risks and benefits of endoscopic ultrasound, that you agree to have the procedure performed, and that you have had the chance to ask your doctor or other health care professional any questions you may have. After you have signed the form, you will need to put on a hospital gown. An intravenous (IV) line will be started in your arm.


During the examination

You will be positioned on your left side or belly, your blood pressure, pulse and breathing and blood oxygen levels will be monitored during the test.  The doctor will inject a medication into a vein in your arm to help you relax. Once you are relaxed, the doctor will pass the endoscope through your mouth. A guard will be placed over your teeth and gums to protect them. Then the endoscope will be passed into your esophagus and stomach.


During the examination, you should feel drowsy and comfortable. If you are asked to change position during the procedure, a nurse will assist you. It will take the doctor about an hour to complete the examination. The results will be interpreted and a report will be sent to your doctor.

After the examination

You will remain in the recovery area until the effects of the medications wear off. This should take about an hour. (If you are an outpatient, you may remain in the recovery room for two hours or more.) Your throat may feel numb and slightly sore after the procedure. You should not eat or drink anything until your “gag reflex” has returned and you can swallow normally again. . You should restrict yourself to clear liquids for the rest of the day, unless other diet is ordered by doctor.


Because air was put into your stomach through the endoscope, you may feel full or bloated after
the exam. This feeling should pass quickly, although it may last several hours.

For the next 24 hours, you should not drive a car, operate machinery, or make important decisions, because the sedative you were given may impair your reflexes and judgment. The sedative also may impair your memory of the procedure. Your doctor will give instructions to the person accompanying you concerning your care.


You should call your doctor if you experience bleeding, fever, or any pain.



Your doctor will tell you the results of your test and if you should undergo any additional tests.  

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Revised July 2013


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