Endoscopic ultrasound procedure (EUS) is a minimally invasive procedure using an endoscope with an ultrasound camera at the tip of it to evaluate the layers of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. With this scope, the lungs, lymph nodes, liver, gall bladder, bile duct and pancreas can be evaluated. EUS also can be used to guide biopsies, drain cysts or determine if cancer is present and what stage cancer is involved. With EUS, patients must only undergo one procedure to relieve symptoms and get answers.
Dr. Sirisha Jasti, board-certified gastroenterologist from Blount Memorial Physicians Group – Gastroenterology, completed advanced training to become fellowship-trained and certified in endoscopic ultrasound procedures. She is the only gastroenterologist in Blount County who offers the EUS procedure. “I am excited to offer EUS because it adds extra quality of care to a patient. I can add more comprehensive care by offering this instead of sending the patient to one place or another – the skillset is here, so we don’t have to refer them elsewhere. I think it’s something people can take advantage of with our comprehensive care here, and there’s a wide variety of usage for it in gastroenterology,” Jasti said.
The prep for this procedure is very similar to a simple endoscopy. Patients are advised not to eat after midnight and, if they take blood thinners, they need to stop taking them a few days before if there is an anticipated biopsy. “For a diagnostic procedure to determine the staging, it probably takes about half an hour for the EUS procedure. If there is a biopsy, it takes about an hour because there is a pathologist on site who gives a preliminary read on these cells,” Jasti explained. There are few side effects, although some complications can happen. “Sometimes there is bleeding, infection, a small tear in the bowel, and of course the risks of anesthesia. Also, sometimes we may not be able to access what we need to just because of the anatomy, but the risks are no greater than with a regular endoscopy,” Jasti added.
But Dr. Jasti doesn’t offer only EUS. “I do everything. That’s what I like about my job – that I’m able to offer all there is in GI. I do endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) procedures, which look at the bile duct and removing stones if necessary. I do stents to help with complications after bariatric procedures or to relieve an obstruction from a colonic tumor. Sometimes, there can be precancerous lesions from Barrett’s esophagus, which can happen with chronic acid reflux, so I treat them to limit risks for esophageal cancer. And then, I also do the capsule endoscopies, regular endoscopy and colonoscopies, as well, to remove polyps, so patients don’t need additional surgery for those. Of course, we treat hepatitis C and inflammatory bowel disease and things like that, too. All the GI problems are treated here with the added additional skillset of endoscopic ultrasounds, ERCPs and radio frequency ablation,” Jasti explained.
For more information or to make an appointment with Blount Memorial Physicians Group – Gastroenterology, call 865-980-5060.