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What to Expect During an Endoscopy Procedure

Last updated: Dec 18, 2022 Post in Gastroenterology in Brooklyn by Century Medical & Dental Clinic.

If your doctor has told you that you need an upper endoscopy, also known as esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), learning what to expect before, after, and during the procedure can make it easy and help to achieve desired health results. The experienced and board-certified doctors at the Century Medical and Dental Center use this procedure to visualize your upper gastrointestinal tract by passing a flexible tube with a camera and light through the nose or mouth. Learning what conditions it can diagnose and treat, how to prepare, and what goes on during an endoscopy procedure gives you a chance to go through it without fear and work with the gastroenterologists for improved digestive health.

What Is an Endoscopy?

An upper endoscopy can diagnose and sometimes, treat conditions that affect the upper part of your digestive system, including the esophagus, stomach, and beginning of the small intestine (duodenum).

Endoscopies are a minimally invasive procedure that is usually recommended to look for causes of digestive issues and symptoms and treat problems like chronic heartburn and acid reflux.
Endoscopy Procedure

Who Needs an Endoscopy?

You may need any endoscopy if you suffer from upper digestive issues and problems that need further investigation. An endoscopy diagnoses the symptoms of digestive tract-related problems, monitors known illnesses, and treats diseases.

Your healthcare provider may recommend endoscopy if you suffer from the following gastric problems:

  • Persistent nausea and vomiting
  • Unexplained pain in the upper abdomen
  • Anemia
  • Blood in your vomit or stool
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Abnormal x-rays
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) that has failed to improve with medications or if you have
  • Barrett’s esophagus
  • Tumor

Sometimes endoscopy is also performed to screen for colorectal cancers or cancers of the digestive tract. It is, in some cases, even used for restorative purposes such as removing a foreign objective stuck in the esophagus or opening a narrow esophagus that is causing swallowing problems. Consult your primary care doctor to understand why you require an endoscopy and how its results would help you achieve better outcomes.

During an endoscopy, you can expect your doctor to do the following:

  • Treat a digestive tract problem
  • Take a biopsy and remove some tissues from the GI tract to look for the presence of disease
  • Remove polyps from the scope to prevent the development of colon cancer
  • Remove gallstones that have passed outside the gallbladder and into the bile duct using ERCP
  • Detect and stop active bleeding from the ulcer using special devices through the endoscope

Things to Know Before the Endoscopy

There is not much to do before the endoscopy and no preparations to make. Your doctor will give you guidelines about what to eat or drink beforehand and how to take your usual medications. Generally, you will have to stop eating at least 4 to 8 hours before the procedure. It is necessary to follow this guideline or the procedure may have to be postponed if your stomach is not empty. The doctor will not be able to check your stomach or duodenum lining clearly, which would destroy the purpose.

The doctor will tell you about taking your routine medications with some exceptions and changes. Make sure to tell your physician about any medications you are using, especially prescription medications for blood pressure and blood sugar. In some cases, doctors ask you to stop taking aspirin, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen), and certain vitamins or supplements, for up to a week before the test. Do not stop taking any medication without talking to your doctor first.

You will be given written instructions from the clinic or the hospital regarding the endoscopy at least a week before the procedure. Go through all the information, and ask questions if there is anything you want to know. Failure to read and follow the instructions may result in the cancellation or rescheduling of the procedure.

What to Expect When You Arrive?

You will be given time to arrive at the clinic before your scheduled endoscopy. It will give time for any preparations before the procedure starts. You will be asked to change into a hospital gown, and your medical history will be reviewed. Take your medical documents if the doctor has asked for them and let the staff know about the medication that you have taken that day.

An intravenous line (IV) will be started so that you can receive fluids and medications through it.

What Happens During the Endoscopic Procedure?

Once you reach the clinic or the hospital and settled, the nurse will guide you on how the procedure will occur and what you will go through. Due to sedation, patients remain unaware of what went on and do not remember anything when they wake up.

  • You will be taken to the procedure room, where you will be asked to lie down on your left side of the exam table
  • A mouth guard will be placed in your mouth so that the endoscope does not damage your teeth
  • Sedation will be administered, and you will begin to feel sleepy and will most likely remain asleep throughout the procedure, which takes about 10 to 20 minutes
  • The doctor guides the flexible gastroscope, which is about the same thickness as a finger, through the esophagus into the stomach, and then into the duodenum
  • The doctor will be able to see the tissues of your GI tract as the tube moves in further down the stomach
  • During this time, the doctor may also perform any additional procedures that are needed, such as removing a foreign object, taking a biopsy, or dilating a narrow portion of the esophagus

After the procedure is complete, the tube is removed, and you will be allowed to wake up from the sedation.

Recovery and Discharge

Once the procedure is complete, you will be given time to wake up. When you are alert, the nurse will give you something light to eat and drink. You may still feel a little fuzzy and have difficulty concentrating, but it is normal as it is the residual effect of the anesthesia.

The doctor will discharge you once you feel more in control of your movements. However, you must have someone to drive you home as the medications you were given can affect your reflexes, and you must have someone to assist you until they are completely clear from your system. Doctors suggest you stay away from work, avoid using a computer screen, heavy machinery, or making any crucial decisions for the rest of the day.

You should not feel any pain after the endoscopy. The worst discomfort you may feel is bloating, or a mild sore throat as the endoscope has gone down your throat. If you sense anything more severe, call your doctor.

Potential Complications That May Result After Endoscopy

As compared to other procedures, an upper endoscopy is safe, and complications are uncommon. Aspiration of stomach contents into the lungs can occur, but this risk is controlled by avoiding eating and drinking before the test, as directed by the doctor.

Some people may react to the sedation medication, especially those allergic to specific chemicals. Let your doctor know if you ever had reactions to any medication to avoid this problem. Bleeding can result from the biopsy site, but this should stop quickly on its own. If you notice persistent bleeding, consult your healthcare provider.

In rare cases, a tear or hole could occur in one of the structures being examined. On the whole, an endoscopy procedure is an effective diagnostic tool used for determining the diseases and conditions of the upper GI tract.

The highly experienced and trained doctors at the Century Medical and Dental Center are concerned about your digestive health and make sure you get the best attention and service. You can look forward to having your symptoms or digestive issues accurately diagnosed and resolved by going through an endoscopic procedure with experts in the field. Understanding how it takes place and what you can expect can make the process comfortable, and help you go through it easily. The top gastroenterologists NY will develop an individual treatment plan depending on your condition and ensure you get unmatched care and support.

SHARE THIS POST Page Updated on Dec 18, 2022 by Dr. Dvorkina (Primary Care Doctor) of Century Medical & Dental Center
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