Intraductal ultrasonography (IDUS), a new technique for visualizing arterial structures, operates at an ultrasound frequency of 30 MHz to produce high resolution, cross-sectional images in real time. The purpose of this study was to provide a basis for interpreting IDUS images in vitro. We also attempted to determine the clinical usefulness of the IDUS system in diagnosing pancreatobiliary diseases in vivo. IDUS echograms of both the bile duct (BD) and main pancreatic duct (MPD) from autopsy specimens of 15 patients demonstrated three distinct layers with a fine reticular pattern in the pancreas in vitro. In clinical cases, the MPD and BD of four patients could be scanned by inserting the IDUS catheter via the major papilla without requiring endoscopic sphincterotomy. We hope that IDUS will become routine in scanning the BD and MPD to achieve early and accurate diagnoses of pancreatobiliary diseases.
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