Endoscopy is a medical procedure in which an instrument called endoscope is passed into a specific organ like the esophagus or intestine or urinary bladder to examine the inner surface of that organ.
The most common type of endoscopy is upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (UGI), which is done to find out problems related to upper intestine (Esophagus, Stomach, Duodenum).
Endoscope contains a fiberoptic camera that magnifies the image of the particular area on the video screen to be viewed by the doctor. Endoscope, unlike most other medical imaging device is directly pushed inside the organ.
Upper GI Endoscopy is done to determine:
Inflammation of the stomach (also called gastritis)
Inflammation of the esophagus (also called esophagitis)
Stricture or enlarged or swollen veins in the esophagus
Barrett’s esophagus (a disease that may later develop into esophageal cancer)
Esophageal Ulcers Stomach Ulcers (Gastric Ulcers)
The cause for hematemesis (or vomiting blood)
The cause for dysphagia (or trouble swallowing)
Upper abdominal pain or bloating
Unnecessary weight loss
Blockage in the gastric outlet (the opening between the stomach and small intestine).
Esophageal injury, gastrointestinal polyps or any foreign object including poison that has been deliberately or accidentally swallowed by the patient
Treatment of oesophageal varices (a condition in which gastrointestinal bleeding occurs mainly due to enlarged and inflamed veins in the oesophagus)
Biopsy of suspicious lesions (for confirmation of cancer)
Preparations before the procedure
Before undergoing an endoscopy test, the endoscopy surgeon gives detailed instructions on how the patient should prepare for the test.
1. The patient should not eat or drink anything for a number of hours before the test.
2. Intake of any kind of blood thinning medicine is strictly prohibited by the doctor a few days before the procedure to eliminate the risk of bleeding.
3. In case of upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (endoscopy of the stomach, gallbladder, liver, colon, rectum, small intestine, oesophagus etc.) the patient is prescribed a laxative to clear stool from his/her bowels.
4. The patient needs to sign a consent letter that states that he/she is well aware of the benefits and risks of endoscopy.
You can expect the following during the procedure:
After the patient lies down on one side, an anesthetic spray is sprayed into the mouth to make the area numb for easy passage of endoscope.
You may be given some sedative to make you relaxed & drowsy, but awake enough to cooperate for the procedure.
A mouthpiece is used to keep the mouth open.
The endoscope is gently inserted into the mouth & throat down into the esophagus, stomach & duodenum to look for any abnormality.
The doctor may take a small piece of tissue (biopsy) for microscopic evaluation.
Endoscopy is used to control bleeding from a stomach ulcer too.
After the procedure is over, the endoscope is slowly taken out.
Usually this procedure is painless, however, some discomfort may be felt.
Precautions after the procedure
After the procedure, the patient is shifted to the recovery room for observation.
Instructions are given regarding food/liquid intake. Also rest is recommended for few hours.
Minor problems like sore throat, bloating/cramping, nausea may persist for few hours.
The effect of sedative fades away after few hours.
The report is usually given to the patient within few hours.
Risk and Complications
In general endoscopy is a safe procedure. The probable side effects are:
Allergic reaction to the sedative
Fever with temperature above 100 degrees
Is Endoscopy painful?
The patient is given a sedative medication for he/she could relax during the procedure. The medication is given through a vein in the forearm.
The doctor also sprays an anesthetic in some cases to numb the patient’s throat before inserting an endoscope. Thus, the patient does not feel any pain during the procedure.
However, some mildly uncomfortable symptoms like gas formation, cramping or sore throat can be felt afterwards. Such symptoms are temporary and generally go within a few days.
Is admission required for the procedure?
Depending on the region to be examined and the procedure to be followed, endoscopy takes approximately 30 min.
It is usually performed on an outpatient basis and the patient is not required to stay in the hospital overnight.
After the procedure, the patient must be driven home. The effect of sedative and associated discomfort may not keep the patient alert enough to drive by self.
The cost varies from Rs 3000 – 15000 in various hospital settings.
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