How can an ultrasound help diagnose colorectal cancer?

Dr. Vincent T DeVita Jr
Dr. Vincent T DeVita Jr
Ultrasound uses sound waves and their echoes to produce a picture of internal organs or masses. A small microphone-like instrument called a transducer emits sound waves and picks up the echoes as they bounce off body tissues. The echoes are converted by a computer into a black and white image that is displayed on a computer screen. This test is painless and does not expose you to radiation.
Endorectal ultrasound: This test uses a special transducer that is inserted directly into the rectum. It is used to see how far through the rectal wall a cancer may have penetrated and whether it has spread to nearby organs or tissues such as lymph nodes.
Intraoperative ultrasound: This exam is done during surgery after the surgeon has opened the abdominal cavity. The transducer can be placed against the surface of the liver, making this test very useful for detecting the spread of colorectal cancer to the liver.
Abdominal ultrasound can be used to look for tumors in your liver, gallbladder, pancreas, or elsewhere in your abdomen, but it can't look for tumors of the colon. For the exam, you simply lie on a table and a technician moves the transducer along the skin overlying the part of your body being examined. Usually, the skin is first lubricated with gel.
Two special types of ultrasound exams are sometimes used to evaluate colon and rectal cancers.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.