What is an ultrasound?
This versatile imaging technology uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of organs and tissues within the body. By capturing images in real time, ultrasound exams reveal the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, such as the heart, blood vessels, kidneys and liver.
Ultrasound can also be used to precisely locate the position of a tumor in order to guide a biopsy or aspiration procedure. For example, ultrasound may be used to mark out the boundaries of a tumor prior to its removal. It can also be used to administer cancer treatments.
Depending on the body part being examined, some types of ultrasound include: abdominal, breast, cardiac, pelvic, prostate, renal, testicular and thyroid. Unlike X-rays, ultrasound exams do not use radiation.
Ultrasound for bile duct cancer
To detect bile duct cancer, your doctor may order an endoscopic or laparoscopic ultrasound. These techniques allow your doctor to produce more detailed images of the bile duct than a standard ultrasound. A thin, lighted tube with a small video camera is inserted through the mouth and esophagus into the small intestine near the bile duct (endoscopic ultrasound) or through a small incision in the front of the abdomen (laparoscopic ultrasound) so that the doctor can examine the bile duct and other internal organs.