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What Is Involved in Endoscopy Preparation?

By Alicia Sparks
Updated May 17, 2024
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A patient will take endoscopy preparation steps that involve becoming educated about and preparing his body for the procedure. These steps include everything from a consultation appointment with his physician to ceasing food, medications, and tobacco use before the test. Patients will even have to consider the clothing they wear during their procedure. Once at the hospital, he and his medical staff will continue with endoscopic preparation designed to help the test happen as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Due to the nature of some of these preparations, endoscopies generally require patients to be accompanied on the way home.

One of the first steps to endoscopy preparation is an appointment between the doctor and patient. During this appointment, the doctor will explain the procedure and endoscopic preparation and aftercare steps to the patient. He will then answer any questions the patient might have.

The patient will tell the doctor about all his allergies, as well as disclose all his prescription and over-the-counter medications. The doctor will tell him whether or not he needs to cease medications before the endoscopy and, if so, which medications he must stop taking and for how long. Generally, doctors advise patients to cease medications that include aspirin or sucralfate. These medications can provide false test readings. Before the appointment is over, the doctor will have the patient sign a consent form stating he understands the endoscopy preparation steps, the risks of the procedure, and the aftercare requirements.

Usually, endoscopies are scheduled during the morning hours, because patients must stop eating and drinking at least eight hours before the procedure. Some doctors will advise patients to stop eating 10 hours before the test. Clear liquids might be allowed four hours before the endoscopic procedure, and patients usually are allowed to brush their teeth before leaving for the hospital. If the doctor determines the patient could continue taking certain essential medications, generally the patient can take them two hours before the procedure with a sip of water. Typically, tobacco users will be advised to stop using any tobacco products at least six hours before the endoscopy.

The patient’s endoscopy preparation will continue at the hospital. Most likely, his doctor or nurse will ask him if he adhered to all the other endoscopy preparation steps. Patients should wear loose-fitting clothing on the morning of the procedure, void of zippers, bra underwire, and other metals. If the patient wears dentures or eyeglasses, he will need to remove them before the endoscopy. Some doctors might prefer patients also remove any jewelry such as large earrings and necklaces, as well as tongue or lip piercings.

Generally, patients will receive a topical anesthetic right before the endoscopy test. This numbs the mouth and throat area to prevent gagging. Depending on the doctor and patient, a patient might also receive anti-anxiety medication, anesthesia, or both. Either or both of these medications might be used to help relax the patient and prevent gagging, stiff and contracted muscles, and soothe reflexes. Usually, a patient who has just had an endoscopic procedure isn’t allowed to drive himself home and must leave the hospital with a family member, friend, or other trusted acquaintance.

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