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Endorectal Ultrasound

Virtua’s colorectal team uses the most advanced endorectal ultrasound to examine all types of anatomical problems or disease conditions of the rectum.

Because the rectum is at the lowest segment of the gastrointestinal tract, positioned just above the opening of the anus, it is readily accessible for imaging by ultrasound. A specialist can gently advance a slim, specially designed ultrasound probe into the rectum to detect abnormalities such as tumors, tears, abscesses, sphincter defects, anatomical problems and fistulas.

When used to examine tumors, this study gives the cancer team measurement of the size, position and depth of cancerous or potentially cancerous lesions in the rectum, and provides information on the extent of disease spread. This information helps the Virtua team to stage rectal cancers and can guide a biopsy, surgery or other care steps.

A three-dimensional endoanal ultrasound image, generated using the anorectal 3D transducerA three-dimensional endoanal ultrasound image, generated using the anorectal 3D transducer.

Endorectal ultrasound has advanced in imaging quality and entered greater use by Virtua colorectal cancer specialists who want patients to have the benefit of prompt diagnosis or want to re-examine cancerous sites or other problem areas in the rectum prior to interventions such as surgery. Lourdes has invested in the latest three-dimensional endorectal ultrasound equipment for visualizing rectal tumors in high-contrast detail.

If a gastroenterologist should identify a rectal tumor in a patient during colonoscopy, the patient can be referred to a Virtua colorectal surgeon for endorectal ultrasound that will result in proper staging of the tumor. This assessment in turn helps in determining if the patient will undergo chemotherapy or radiation therapy prior to surgery for the tumor. Otherwise, the patient may proceed directly to surgery without preoperative treatment. Endorectal ultrasound is also useful after such treatment steps as radiation therapy to examine the extent to which rectal tumors have shrunk as a result of treatment.

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