Developed in the 1980s, endoscopic ultrasound gained traction as an essential diagnostic tool, but today it is used for therapeutic purposes as well. An endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) involves the use of a thin, flexible tube known as an endoscope with a video camera and an ultrasound scanning probe (echoendoscope) at one end to evaluate the gastrointestinal tract. It captures high-resolution images of the insides of the digestive tract and adjacent structures with the assistance of high-frequency sound waves. As the EUS procedure is performed inside the body, it enables the specialist to gain a good understanding of the condition of the digestive organs. But the benefits do not end there. If you would like to know more about the advantages that come with undergoing an endoscopic ultrasound in Singapore, we at Alpha Digestive & Liver Centre have you covered!
Before exploring the benefits that come with this device, let’s look at what an endoscopy procedure in Singapore entails, from how it works to what can be diagnosed and treated.
How does an Endoscopic Ultrasound work?
Depending on the condition the patient is suffering from, the endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is inserted either through the oral cavity or the rectum into the digestive tract. Once inserted, the probe emits sound waves that travel to the organs and structures and bounces back like an echo. These reflected waves are then transmitted to the computer as images, from which your gastroenterologist will determine the next step.
What conditions can be diagnosed by the EUS procedure?
A number of conditions, including cysts, stones, abnormal growths, abscesses (pus collection), blockages, lymphomas and tumours, can be diagnosed easily with the EUS procedure. Therapeutically, this device is beneficial in the management of various conditions, such as the treatment of pancreatic cystic lesions and gastric varices, drainage of fluid collections, relieving obstructions, ablations and vascular interventions, especially in the event of bleeding and also for neurolysis (nerve blockage for pain relief).
What are the benefits of carrying out an Endoscopy in Singapore?
There are a number of advantages to performing this procedure, including the following:
The production of high-resolution images provides a detailed and clear visualisation of the organs and surrounding tissues and structures. This ensures that the correct diagnosis is made so that the appropriate management and treatment can be commenced.
In contrast to surgical procedures that may come with certain risks and complications prolonging recovery, an endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is a minimally invasive procedure that can be safely used to evaluate diseases of the abdomen and chest cavity. It is the ideal alternative for invasive procedures like open biopsies and surgical exploration.
As the images get picked up in real-time, the gastroenterologist will be able to evaluate the issue as well as provide management and relief during the EUS procedure.
An endoscopic ultrasound can be used in conjunction with other investigations, such as a CT or MRI scan, making it an invaluable imaging modality.
Endoscopic ultrasounds in Singapore and elsewhere are usually performed as an outpatient procedure, reducing the need for hospitalisation and downtime for recuperation.
Endoscopic Ultrasound vs alternative imaging investigations
In comparison to other standard imaging modalities, the high-resolution and real-time imaging of an endoscopic ultrasound will provide a more enhanced and comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s condition. Unlike the EUS procedure, certain imaging investigations like CT scans may come with a risk of radiation, making endoscopic ultrasounds a safe and effective option.
In some cases, the specialist may find difficulty with visualising and analysing the gastrointestinal concern due to its location, as the imaging technique used may not be suitable to access the targeted area. This is not the case with EUS procedures, as they typically are able to reach deep within structures, offering more detailed information about the patient’s condition.
Furthermore, if further evaluation is required, small tissue samples can be obtained during the EUS procedure, which will then be sent to the pathologist for examination. This process is referred to as an endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) biopsy. The FNA (fine-needle aspiration) report will guide the gastroenterologist in confirming the diagnosis and strategising a good treatment plan.
Along with the capability of diagnosing and treating several gastrointestinal concerns and issues, an endoscopic ultrasound is a safe and minimally invasive procedure with relatively minimal adverse effects. This makes it an ideal alternative to surgery, which may, at times, come with certain risks and complications.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I prepare for an Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) in Singapore?
Prior to the endoscopy in Singapore, patients will be given specific instructions so that they can be well-informed and prepared. While the instructions may differ from patient to patient, some general instructions may be given, such as fasting, avoiding certain medications, and advice on bowel preparation.
What can I expect from an Endoscopic Ultrasound?
Most patients can expect to be sedated so that they can relax and fall asleep while the procedure is being performed. The endoscopy procedure in Singapore takes around one hour, and the patient will usually be able to return home on the same day, around two hours after it has been completed.
How long does it take to recover from this procedure?
As this is a minimally invasive procedure and does not require any prolonged period for recovery, most patients will be able to resume their regular routine after about 24 to 48 hours.
How can an EUS procedure help with pancreatic cancer?
Most gastroenterologists use this procedure to determine the size, location, and extent of the spread of the pancreatic tumour. With the help of an EUS-FNA, tissue samples can also be obtained for further evaluation. In addition, this procedure may be used to reduce pain that cannot be resolved with pain medication. This is carried out with the assistance of a celiac plexus block, which involves the injection of a pain reliever to numb the celiac nerves. Celiac plexus blocks are sometimes carried out in patients with chronic pancreatitis as well.
Why is an Endoscopic Ultrasound the preferred option over other investigations?
Most gastroenterologists prefer it because it is a safe and effective procedure with enhanced imaging and many other benefits.
Who do I consult for my Endoscopy procedure in Singapore?
The EUS procedure is usually performed by an experienced gastroenterologist like Dr Benjamin Yip, who has undergone specialised training in order to be able to interpret the images as well as any FNA reports (if a biopsy has been carried out). Dr Yip has performed over 6000 endoscopies and will ensure that the procedure goes as smoothly and comfortably as possible. For more information on this procedure and advice on other lifestyle changes for a healthier digestive system, do not hesitate to reach out to our supportive and friendly team at Alpha Digestive & Liver Centre – we can guide you with whatever you need.
- John Hopkins Medicine. “Endoscopic Ultrasound”, Accessed 15 August 2023. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/endoscopic-ultrasound
- Dr. Mark Austin. “The benefits of an endoscopic ultrasound”, TopDoctorsUK, Accessed 15 August 2023. https://www.topdoctors.co.uk/medical-articles/advantages-of-an-endoscopic-ultrasound
- Health Direct, “Endoscopic Ultrasound”, Accessed 17 August 2023. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/surgery/endoscopic-ultrasound#benefits
- Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, “Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)”, Accessed 17 August 2023. https://pancan.org/facing-pancreatic-cancer/diagnosis/endoscopic-ultrasound-eus/
- Cleveland Clinic, “Celiac Plexus Block”, Accessed 17 August 2023. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/16853-celiac-plexus-block