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What can I Expect During Esophagus Endoscopy?

Article Details
  • Written By: A. Pasbjerg
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 09 July 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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In order to assess potential issues affecting a patient's upper gastrointestinal tract, such as GERD, esophagitis, and Barrett's esophagus, a doctor may choose to perform an esophagus endoscopy. This procedure involves inserting a light and camera attached to the end of a flexible tube into the esophagus through the mouth. One can expect to be admitted into a hospital or treatment center, as it requires conscious sedation and patients will need to be monitored. In addition to diagnosis, the procedure may also be used to obtain tissue biopsies or administer treatment for certain issues.

The primary goal of an esophagus endoscopy is for the gastroenterologist to obtain a clear picture of what issues a patient may be experiencing. To perform the procedure, the doctor will ask the patient to swallow the endoscope once it is inserted into the back of the mouth. He or she can then expect the doctor to spend some time examining the length of the esophagus via the video feed to see if there are any abnormalities or areas of concern.

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Patients receiving this procedure can expect to have it performed in the hospital or a GI endoscopy unit. To perform an esophagus endoscopy successfully, a patient will generally need to be sedated so he or she is relaxed and comfortable; sedation also helps keep the patient from gagging while the endoscope is in the throat. Drugs will typically be administered intravenously to make the person sleepy but still leave him or her conscious. Machines to monitor the patient's heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure are also normally used to ensure there is no adverse reaction to the sedatives. The patient may or may not remember the procedure once the drugs wear off.

While an esophagus endoscopy is usually performed to diagnose problems that may be afflicting the patients upper gastrointestinal tract, it may also be used as an opportunity to perform additional procedures as well. For example, it may be necessary to take tissue samples from the esophagus to confirm conditions such as Barrett's esophagus; in these cases a device called a forceps, which is a wire with a mechanism to remove a small piece of tissue on the end, is passed through the endoscope and into the esophagus. There it removes a tiny piece of tissue; this is rarely painful or even felt by the patient. Some treatments may also be possible during an endoscopy, including stopping the bleeding of an ulcer or dilating a narrowed esophagus.

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