Upper gastrointestinal (GI) Endoscopy is a non-surgical procedure used to examine a person’s upper digestive tract (esophagus, stomach, duodenum). Using an endoscope, a flexible tube with a light and camera attached to it, your doctor can view pictures of your digestive tract on a colour TV monitor.
Why Do I Need an Endoscopy?
Doctors will often recommend endoscopy to evaluate:
Changes in bowel habits (nausea and vomiting )
In addition, your doctor may use an endoscope to take a biopsy (removal of tissue) to look for the presence of disease.
Endoscopy may also be used to treat a digestive tract problem. For example, the endoscope might not only detect active bleeding from an ulcer, but devices can be passed through the endoscope that can stop the bleeding. Also, using ERCP, gallstones that have passed outside the gallbladder and into the bile duct can often be removed.
Is Endoscopy Safe?
Overall, endoscopy is very safe; however, the procedure does have a few potential complications, which may include:
Perforation (tear in the gut wall)
Reaction to sedation
Local pain and discomfort
Pancreatitis as a result of ERCP
Who Performs Endoscopy?
Your internist or family doctor may perform sigmoidoscopy in their office .however, all of the other endoscopy procedures are usually performed by gastroenterology specialists (gastroenterologists). Other specialists such as gastrointestinal surgeons also can perform many of these procedures.
How you prepare
Your doctor will give you specific instructions to prepare for your endoscopy.
You will need to stop drinking and eating up to eight hours before your endoscopy to ensure your stomach is empty for the procedure.
Tell your doctor about all the medications and supplements you’re taking before your endoscopy. If you take certain blood-thinning medications, your doctor may recommend that you stop taking them in the days before your endoscopy. Blood thinners may increase your risk of bleeding if certain procedures are performed during the endoscopy.
If you have chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure, your doctor will give you specific instructions regarding your medications.