Nisa Kubiliun, M.D. Answers Questions On: Endoscopic Ultrasound
What are the benefits of an endoscopic ultrasound?
Endoscopic ultrasound allows us the ability to obtain information about a tumor through a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure rather than subjecting a patient to surgery for similar information.
Many people are familiar with ultrasounds done from outside the body, like a sonogram for a baby. An endoscopic ultrasound uses the same technology but takes images from inside the body.
To perform these endoscopic ultrasounds, we use a camera, or endoscope, that has an ultrasound attached to it. We are able to insert this camera through the mouth and guide it towards the part of the body that we are trying to examine. We use the ultrasound images we obtain not only to identify cancer but also to biopsy and stage the tumors. In some cases, we use the information we obtain from the ultrasound images in combination with other endoscopic techniques to remove the tumor without the need for surgery.
Which patients are good candidates for endoscopic ultrasound?
Many patients who have tumors of the gastrointestinal tract are good candidates for endoscopic ultrasound.
As an example, if a patient has a tumor in the esophagus and we want to know how deep that tumor goes, we can put an endoscopic ultrasound right up to that tumor and determine the depth. Knowing how deep the tumor goes gives us a better idea about what the next steps should be: chemotherapy, radiation, or other treatments.
What sets UT Southwestern apart from other medical centers that offer endoscopic treatment?
We have a truly multidisciplinary approach to care that allows us to offer cutting-edge, personalized treatment to our patients. Our patients have the benefit of a whole medical team working together to create a comprehensive treatment plan.
In addition, we are able to do a lot of procedures that other institutions don’t have the technologic tools or experience to be able to perform. For instance, a number of patients with complex colon polyps are referred to us. We are often able to remove the colon polyp endoscopically, which spares the patient from a major surgery that would otherwise require large sections of the colon to be removed to accomplish the same goal.
Personally, I think our interdisciplinary approach is one of the greatest things about UT Southwestern. Being able to treat patients at an institution like this where I have access to cutting-edge technologies and I am able to collaborate with all the medical and surgical specialties that I think could help my patients is truly amazing for both doctor and patient.