THE ROLE OF ENDOSCOPIC ULTRASOUND IN DIGESTIVE TRACT DISEASES IN ERA OF ADVANCED TECHNIQUES OF COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY
Summary. During the last 20 years endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) has been established as a highly accurate method in the diagnosis of digestive tract diseases. This method enables analysis of the lesions within the bowel wall, pancreas, and biliary system with utmost precision. Good results have also been achieved in evaluation of regional lymphadenopathy in staging of malignant diseases. Principal limitations of this method originate from its low accesibility and technical complexity which requires well trained sinologist and scientific evaluation of results in order to achieve adequate level of skill. Complications occur rarely with numbers comparable to other endoscopic procedures. With new software and hardware device introduced, computerized tomography (CT) (this refers in the first place to multidetector row CT) has been tremendously upgraded approaching the EUS in diagnostic accuracy in mentioned indications, and overcoming it in detection of distant metastases. Implementation of 3D reconstruction techniques allowed CT to enter the area of classic endoscopy, as in the case of virtual gastroscopy and/or colonoscopy. CT is a noninvasive method, very acceptable to majority of patients, and therefore popular and more prevalent compared to EUS. Although comparable in diagnostic accuracy in majority of indications, endo- sonography retains advance in evaluation of lesions within GI tract wall (including the early stages of carcinoma), detection of small biliary stones and small pancreatic tumors. Moreover, EUS is indespensable in therapeutic indications. Experiences with fine needle aspiration, punctions and drainage of cysts and abscesses, celiac plexus neurolysis and creation of digestive anastomosis confirm its place and value among the minimally invasive procedures which minimize the need for surgical intervention, patients’ trauma and treatment costs.