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Using minimally invasive procedures and the latest in endoscopic equipment and techniques, RMC’s board-certified gastroenterologists can screen for and treat a wide variety of gastrointestinal tract problems, including colorectal cancer, by inserting tubes, cameras, and medical devices through existing cavities in the body, including the mouth, nose, and rectum.

To provide improved treatment to this area’s GI patients, RMC uses the Wireless Capsule Endoscopy system to diagnose gastrointestinal bleeding and small bowel pathology. Common uses for the vitamin-sized pill include detection for polyps, Crohn’s disease, ulcers and tumors. The tiny capsule contains a miniature camera that takes 55,000 pictures as it passes through the GI tract. This procedure provides excellent visualization of the small intestine and is well tolerated by the patient. Until this procedure became available, examination of the small bowel was limited.

To more effectively measure the acidity levels in patients suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly known as acid reflux or chronic heartburn, RMC employs a state-of-the-art pH (or acidity) monitoring system. By affixing a small capsule via a small tube in the patient’s esophagus, the capsule transmits the patient’s pH levels electronically to an external pager-size transmitter for a 48-hour period. After the monitoring, the doctor is much better prepared to develop a plan to treat the patient’s specific medical issues. Previously, patients had the discomfort of a system involving a nasal tube. The new electronic monitoring system gives the patient much more comfort and convenience.

What is EUS?

Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is a minimally invasive procedure to assess digestive (gastrointestinal) and lung diseases. It uses high-frequency sound waves to produce detailed images of the lining and walls of your digestive tract and chest, nearby organs such as the pancreas and liver, and lymph nodes.

When combined with a procedure called fine-needle aspiration, EUS allows your doctor to sample (biopsy) fluid and tissue from your abdomen or chest for analysis. EUS with fine-needle aspiration can be a minimally invasive alternative to exploratory surgery.

EUS techniques are also used in certain treatments, such as draining pseudocysts.

Why it’s done

the endoscope in the hands

EUS is used to find the cause of symptoms such as abdominal or chest pain, to determine the extent of diseases in your digestive tract and lungs, and to evaluate findings from imaging tests such as CT scan or MRI.

EUS may help in the evaluation of:

  • Cancer of the colon, esophagus, lung, pancreas or stomach, and ampullary and rectal cancers
  • Lymphoma
  • Barrett’s esophagus
  • Neuroendocrine tumors
  • Pancreatitis and pancreatic cysts
  • Bile duct stones
  • Rectal fistulas and fecal incontinence
  • Sarcoidosis

Two surgeons preparing for surgery, looking at medical equipmentEUS can help:

  • Assess how deeply a tumor penetrates your abdominal wall in esophageal, gastric, rectal, pancreatic and lung cancers
  • Determine the extent (stage) of cancer, if present
  • Determine if cancer has spread (metastasized) to your lymph nodes or other organs
  • Provide precise information about non-small cell lung cancer cells, to guide treatment
  • Evaluate abnormal findings from imaging tests, such as cysts of the pancreas
  • Guide drainage of pseudocysts and other abnormal collections of fluid in the abdomen
  • Permit precise targeting for delivering medication directly into the pancreas, liver and other organs

EUS is performed on an outpatient basis and is well-tolerated by most people.

For more information on these GI services, please call (256)235-5121.