What is Endoscopy?
Endoscopy (also known as Upper GI Endoscopy, Gastroscopy, EGDor esophagogastroduodenoscopy) is a procedure that enables your surgeon to examine the lining of the oesophagus (swallowing tube), stomach and duodenum (first portion of the small intestine). A bendable, lighted tube about the thickness of your little finger is placed through your mouth and into the stomach and duodenum.
Why is an Upper Endoscopy Performed?
- Trouble swallowing (dysphagia)
- Unexplained weight loss
- Upper belly pain or chest pain that is not heart-related
- Continuous vomiting for an unknown reason (intractable vomiting)
- Bleeding in the upper GI tract
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- Narrowing (strictures) or blockages
- Larger than normal veins in your oesophagus (oesophageal varices)
- Redness and swelling (inflammation) and sores (ulcers)
- Tumours, either cancerous (malignant) or not cancerous (benign)
- The stomach moving upward, either into or next to your oesophagus (hiatal hernia)
- Damage caused by swallowing very harmful (caustic) substances, such as household detergents and chemicals
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease of the upper GI tract
- Infections of the upper GI tract
An upper GI endoscopy can also treat problems in the upper GI tract. The procedure can be used to:
- Control bleeding
- Remove tumours or growths (polyps)
- Open (dilate) narrowed areas
- Remove things that may be stuck
- Perform laser therapy
- Insert a tube used for tube feeding (a percutaneous gastrostomy tube) into the stomach
- Band abnormal veins in your oesophagus (oesophageal varices)
An endoscope can be used to take tissue samples (biopsies) or GI fluid samples. An upper GI endoscopy may also be done to check your stomach and duodenum after a surgery.
What Preparation Is Required?
The stomach should be completely empty. You should have nothing to eat or drink for approximately 8 to 12 hours before the examination. Our surgeon will be more specific about the time to begin fasting depending on the time of day that your test is scheduled.
Medication may need to be adjusted or avoided. It is best to inform our surgeon of ALL your current medications as well as allergies to medications a few days prior to the examination. Most medications can be continued as usual. Medication use such as aspirin, Vitamin E, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, blood thinners and insulin should be discussed with your surgeon prior to the examination. It is essential that you alert your surgeon if you require antibiotics prior to undergoing dental procedures, since you may also require antibiotics prior to gastroscopy.
Also, if you have any major diseases, such as heart or lung disease that may require special attention during the procedure, discuss this with your surgeon.
What can be expected during the Upper Endoscopy?
You may have your throat sprayed with a local anaesthetic before the test begins to help you relax during the examination. You will be laid on your side in a comfortable position as the endoscope is gently passed through your mouth and into your oesophagus, stomach and duodenum. Air is introduced into your stomach during the procedure to allow a better view of the stomach lining. The procedure usually lasts 3-15 minutes. The endoscope does not interfere with your breathing.
What happens after Upper Endoscopy?
You will be monitored in the endoscopy area for 1 to 2 hours. Your throat may be a little sore for a day or two. You may feel bloated immediately after the procedure because of the air that is introduced into your stomach during the examination. You will be able to resume your diet and take your routine medication after you leave the endoscopy area, unless otherwise instructed. Your surgeon will usually inform you of your test results on the day of the procedure, unless biopsy samples were taken. These biopsy results take several days to return.
What Complications Can Occur?
Gastroscopy and biopsy are generally safe when performed by surgeons who have had special training and are experienced in these endoscopic procedures. Complications are rare; however, they can occur. They include bleeding from the site of a biopsy or polypectomy and a tear (perforation) through the lining of the intestinal wall. Blood transfusions are rarely required.
It is important for you to recognize the early signs of possible complications and to contact your surgeon if you notice symptoms of difficulty swallowing, worsening throat pain, chest pains, severe abdominal pain, fevers, chills or rectal bleeding of more than one-half cup.
This information is not intended to take the place of your discussion with our surgeon about the need for a gastroscopy. If you have questions about the examination or subsequent follow-up, please discuss them with our surgeon during the consultation.
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