Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
How It Is Done
A Reference gastrointestinal endoscopy Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window may be done in a doctor's office, a clinic, or a hospital. An overnight stay in the hospital usually is not needed. The test is most often performed by a doctor who specializes in problems of the digestive system (Reference gastroenterologist Opens New Window). The doctor may also have an assistant. Some Reference family medicine doctors Opens New Window, Reference internists Opens New Window, and Reference surgeons Opens New Window are also trained to do endoscopy.
Before the procedure, blood tests may be done to check for a low blood count or clotting problems. Your throat may be numbed with an anesthetic spray, gargle, or lozenge to relax your gag reflex and make it easier to insert the Reference endoscope Opens New Window into your throat.
During the test, you may receive a pain medicine and a Reference sedative Opens New Window through an intravenous (IV) line in your arm or hand. These medicines reduce pain and will make you feel relaxed and drowsy during the test. You may not remember much about the actual test.
You will be asked to lie on your left side with your head bent slightly forward. A mouth guard may be placed in your mouth to protect your teeth from the endoscope. Then the lubricated tip of the endoscope will be guided into your mouth, and your doctor may gently press your tongue out of the way. You may be asked to swallow to help move the tube along. It is helpful to remember that the instrument is no thicker than many foods you swallow and will not cause problems with breathing.
Once the endoscope is in your esophagus, your head will be tilted upright. This makes it easier for the scope to slide down your esophagus. During the procedure, try not to swallow unless requested to. An assistant may remove the saliva from your mouth with a suction device, or you can allow the saliva to drain from the side of your mouth.
Your doctor will slowly move the endoscope while looking through an eyepiece or watching on a video monitor to examine the walls of your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Air or water may be injected through the scope to help clear a path for the scope or to clear its lens, and suction may be applied to remove air or secretions.
A camera attached to the endoscope takes pictures for viewing on the monitor and stores some pictures for later study. The doctor may also insert tiny instruments (forceps, loops, swabs) through the endoscope to collect tissue samples (biopsy) or remove growths. The biopsy test is completely painless.
To make it easier for your doctor to see different parts of your upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract, you may be repositioned or have gentle pressure applied to your belly. When the examination is completed, the endoscope is slowly withdrawn.
After the test
The test usually takes 30 to 45 minutes, but it may take longer, depending upon what is found and what is done during the test.
After the test, you will be observed for 1 to 2 hours until the medicines wear off. If your throat was numbed before the test, you should not eat or drink until your throat is no longer numb and your gag reflex has returned to normal.
When you are fully recovered, you can go home. You will not be able to drive or operate machinery for 12 hours after the test. Your doctor will tell you when you can resume your usual diet and activities. Do not drink alcohol for 12 to 24 hours after the test.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference March 7, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology