Published on July 16, 2012

Diagnosis made easier

Getting up close with endoscopic ultrasound

Diagnosing cancers and other diseases of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and surrounding organs just got a little easier at Mercy Philadelphia. Our newly installed endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) technology can view in and around the GI tract, using the same harmless and painless sound waves used to view babies in the womb.

In EUS, a tiny ultrasound probe is inserted into the GI tract using a thin, flexible tube. This gives doctors a good view of certain cancers—such as pancreatic cancer—in the earliest stages. EUS allows doctors to see through the wall of the GI tract and evaluate the nearby organs.

This technology can also access and take samples of certain organs that are inaccessible by other means except surgery. “For example, EUS is the best way to get ‘up close and personal’ with the pancreas,” says Raman Battish, MD, who leads the EUS program at Mercy. “It can be used to diagnose and stage pancreatic cancer (meaning to locate and determine the extent of the cancer), and to evaluate other pancreatic conditions.”

Endoscopic ultrasound can also be used to diagnose and/or stage rectal cancer, the lymph nodes in lung cancer, esophageal cancer and fecal incontinence. “It’s another item in our toolbox to help fight cancer and evaluate benign conditions,” explains Dr. Battish. “This diagnostic tool requires extra training and special equipment, which we have here at Mercy Philadelphia. We’re glad to provide this service to our community.”