4 DignityHealth.org/central-california | Summer 2019 ENDOSCOPIC ULTRASOUND Diagnosing and treating organs from the inside External physical scans and a list of symptoms provide limited insight about what’s going on inside the body. As a solution to this challenge, endoscopic ultrasound is a minimally invasive procedure that helps diagnose conditions from the inside. This technique is at the forefront of addressing many gastroenterological issues, and St. Joseph’s Medical Center is proud to provide this procedure to the community. “Endoscopic ultrasound is an endoscopy procedure where we use a camera with an ultrasound probe in front of it, and we do the ultrasound from inside the gastrointestinal system,” says Gurtej Malhi, MD, a gastroenterologist with Dignity Health Medical Group. “We go through the stomach and the first portion of the small intestine. Then we do an ultrasound of your internal organs.” The ins and outs of endoscopies There are plenty of advantages to viewing organs from within. First, it is easier to see past the contents of the bowel to view specific organs. Second, there are no blood vessels blocking the view. Additionally, this method allows for tumor biopsy, which better enables doctors to stage tumors. With cancerous tumors of the esophagus, pancreas, and rectum, endoscopic ultrasound allows a better assessment of how deep the tumor is in the intestinal wall. When a biopsy is taken via surgical methods, there is a greater risk for seeding, where the cancerous cells travel to other parts of the body. Endoscopic ultrasound allows for better imaging of the tumor and a more precise biopsy. Pancreatic conditions are just one area improved with this procedure. Intervention to address bile duct stones and drain cysts can be conducted through endoscopic ultrasound. And precancerous polyps are detected and removed with endoscopic ultrasound. Colonoscopies use this technique. “Barrett’s esophagus develops from chronic acid reflux and can lead to changes in the lining of the cells of the lower esophagus. This can very readily be a precancerous condition and progress into cancer in some patients,” Dr. Malhi says. Endoscopic ultrasound allows for close observance of the condition of the esophagus. Since the procedure is minimally invasive, preparation is minimal. Patients must fast for eight hours prior to the procedure. Certain blood thinner medications should be stopped two to five days before the procedure. Much like a colonoscopy, there is no need for general anesthesia. Patients are under deep sedation and typically return home the same day. Most can return to work or other daily activities the next day. “Endoscopic ultrasound is an endoscopy procedure where we use a camera with an ultrasound probe in front of it, and we do the ultrasound from inside the gastrointestinal system.” – Gurtej Malhi, MD Listen today! To hear an interview with Dr. Gurtej Malhi, a gastroenterologist with Dignity Health Medical Group, visit radiomd.com/dignity/ item/39571 .