An ultrasound uses sound waves to look for
changes in your pancreas and bile ducts. The sound waves bounce off body parts and
send back a series of signals. Then a computer turns these into images of your
insides. This might be the first test you have because it’s easy and doesn’t use
radiation. During an ultrasound, the sound waves come from a wand-like device
that’s moved over the skin over your abdomen (belly) and aimed at your
For an endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), the image of the pancreas is taken from
inside your body. This makes a better picture. Medicines are used to make you
sleep for this test. Your healthcare provider then puts a thin, lighted tube
(called an endoscope) down your throat, through your stomach, and into the first
part of your small intestine. At the tip of the scope is an ultrasound device. It
bounces waves into nearby tissues, including the pancreas, to make an image of it.
During the test, if your healthcare provider sees anything of concern, a small,
hollow needle may be passed through the endoscope to take out a small piece
(sample) of tissue. This is called a biopsy.