Endoscopic Ultrasound with fine needle aspiration (EUS/FNA)
Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is a procedure used to image the digestive tract, including the pancreas. A thin, flexible, lighted tube with a small ultrasound probe attached to the end (echoendoscope) is passed through the patient’s mouth into the stomach and the top part of the small intestine called the duodenum. The ultrasound component of the endoscope uses sound waves to create visual images of the pancreas.
The images created from an EUS procedure are detailed ultrasound pictures of the digestive tract. The doctor can use these pictures to determine the size and location of a tumor in the pancreas and whether the tumor has spread to nearby blood vessels or other structures. EUS can also allow passage of a needle into a suspected tumor to obtain tissue samples. This is a type of biopsy called fine-needle aspiration. Cells obtained from the biopsy can then be analyzed to see if they are cancerous and can help in deciding the best course of treatment.