Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)

EUS is a procedure that allows your specialist to examine the internal organs with an ultrasound probe on
the tip of an endoscope. This is performed using a narrow, flexible tube called a gastroscope which has a
camera and ultrasound in the tip that capture images of your upper gastrointestinal tract and the
neighbouring internal organs. These images are transmitted to a TV monitor which your specialist looks at
during the examination. The gastroscope is placed in your mouth and is slowly advanced down your
oesophagus into your stomach and duodenum. From these positions an ultrasound is performed from the
inside. By passing a special needle through the gastroscope, biopsies of tissue can be taken.

Why is EUS performed?

  • To look and evaluate the abnormalities of the internal organs
  • To obtain a biopsy (sample of the tissue) for diagnostic purposes
  • To perform treatment during the procedure

What is the preparation for EUS?

The best and safest way to do the procedure is on an empty stomach.

You should have nothing to eat or drink, including water, for six hours before your EUS.


It is very important you tell your specialist up to five days in advance about any medications you take. If you
are on essential medications you may be able to take them with small sips of water. You may need to adjust
your usual dose for the examination or stop certain medications. If you take any blood thinning medication or
have any allergies to medications please call the MacMurray Centre on 09 550 1080.

How is EUS performed?

EUS is performed in a fully equipped examination room. You will be asked to lie on your left side on bed.
Your throat will be sprayed with local anaesthetic spray and you will be administered an intravenous
sedative. The sedation is not a general anaesthetic, you will be aware of having the procedure done,
although you might not remember much of the procedure afterwards. Your specialist will pass the
gastroscope through your mouth and into the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum. The gastroscope does
not interfere with your breathing. Most patients consider the test only slightly uncomfortable and many
patients fall asleep during the procedure. The procedure itself usually takes approximately 30-60 minutes.
However, depending on your case and findings this time may vary.

What treatments can be done during the EUS?

  • FNA (fine needle aspiration) – A small needle is passed through the gastroscope. It can be used to
    biopsy (sample) tissue in the wall of the gut, the mediastinum, the lymph nodes, pancreas or other
  • Tru – cut biopsy- a larger biopsy if required by a special needle.
  • Coeliac plexus block – special medicine can be injected to numb specific nerves and reduce pain
    associated with certain conditions
  • Cyst drainage – cysts can be drained and stents can be placed to enable ongoing drainage in certain
    conditions affecting the pancreas.

What happens after EUS?

After the procedure you will be wheeled into the recovery room where you will rest to allow the sedation to
wear off. You will be in recovery for at least one hour after the procedure.
When you are awake your specialist will discuss your examination results with you and a written summary
will be given to you for your reference. A copy of your report will also be sent to your GP.
A light snack will be served before you leave MacMurray. You are able to return to your normal diet
following discharge.

You must have someone to take you home after the procedure and stay with you, as you will be drowsy and
unable to drive. The sedative may also affect your ability to recollect details about your procedure. Sedation
should wear off in a few hours. You should stay off work the day of your procedure but can resume normal
activities the following day.


You will be given a report before you go home and your specialist will explain what treatments were
performed/biopsies taken and what follow up (if any) is required. Biopsy results will also be sent to your GP
(may take up to 2 weeks).

Safety and Risks

An EUS is generally a very safe and simple procedure. Complications are rare but may occur in 1-2% of
patients. Most of these complications are only mild to moderate severity, but occasionally (1:3000) can be
life threatening.
Complications include:

  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the Pancreas)
  • Infected cyst, causing abdominal pain and fever
  • Bleeding
  • Perforation (a hole in the lining of the intestinal wall)