What is an Endoscopy?
Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) often called endoscopy is a safe, non-invasive, non-surgical procedure that allows our doctors to evaluate the upper part of your gastrointestinal tract including the esophagus, stomach, and proximal duodenum.
Why would I need an Endoscopy?
Our doctors perform upper endoscopies to investigate a variety of upper gastrointestinal symptoms and disorders that include but are not limited to:
- Heartburn and Indigestion
- Abdominal Pain
- Bleeding and Anemia
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
- Barrett’s Esophagus
- Swallowing Problems
- Persistent Nausea and Vomiting
- Bloating and Belching
- Unexplained Weight Loss
- Inflammation and Ulceration
- Hiatal Hernia
How do I prepare for my Endoscopy?
You will be asked to avoid eating or drinking after midnight or more specifically we ask that you avoid solid foods for at least 8 hours and refrain from drinking liquids for at least 4 hours. This is to ensure that your stomach will be empty prior to the procedure allowing our doctors to visualize your gastrointestinal tract and to prevent vomiting and aspiration while sedated. Remember that good preparation allows for the safest and most effective procedure.
After your visit with our doctors, his staff will provide you with more detailed instructions regarding preparation for your endoscopy. Please contact our doctors’ office, endoscopy center, or hospital if you have any questions.
What medications can I take or not take before my Endoscopy?
Most prescription and non-prescription medicines including herbals, vitamins, and supplements can be taken up to the day of your procedure with a sip of water. However, the medications listed below may need to be modified. Please contact our doctors’ office, endoscopy center, or hospital if you have any questions or need to review your medication list.
- Anti-Coagulants aka Blood Thinners (eg. Coumadin, Pradaxa, Xarelto, Eliquis)
- Anti-Platelets (eg Aspirin, Plavix)
- Diabetic Medications (eg. Insulin, Metformin, Glyburide)
What else should I do because I am a diabetic?
Special pre-procedure instructions will be given to you if you are a diabetic. Please provide a detailed list of your diabetic medications including pills and insulin. You should check your blood sugar frequently during the day before and after your procedure. Since you will be fasting after midnight your blood sugar may drop faster than normal. To avoid this be sure to include some liquids with sugar in your diet. If your blood sugar is low then dissolve (do not chew) a piece of hard candy in your mouth.
Will I be able to drive home after my procedure?
For the procedure, you will be given a fast-acting sedative, which will put you asleep for the duration of the procedure. Although you will wake up quickly, the sedative medicines cause temporary changes in reflexes and judgment so someone will need to drive you home after your procedure.
What happens on the day of the procedure?
We understand that undergoing a GI procedure can cause some apprehension but be rest assured that you are in the best of hands in a state of the art facility. Your comfort, well-being, and peace of mind are paramount and we hope that the following description of your procedure day will alleviate some of your fears.
Upon arrival at our endoscopy center or hospital GI lab, our staff will answer any questions that you may have and review the procedure including possible complications, and will ask you to sign a consent form if you have not already done so. Afterward, you will change into a gown and a trained nurse will start an IV for the administration of sedatives.
Shortly thereafter you will be transferred to the endoscopy suite where you will meet our doctors. There you will lay on your left side and a small plastic mouth guard will be placed in your mouth to protect your teeth. An anesthetist will then provide safe, fast-acting sedatives through your IV to make you comfortably asleep during the procedure. During this entire process, your vital signs will be continually monitored. The endoscope does not interfere with your breathing.
When asleep our doctors will slowly pass a small flexible high definition camera thinner than the size of your finger called an endoscope down your mouth to evaluate your esophagus, stomach, and upper small intestine. He will then take pictures of your anatomy and take biopsies if appropriate. In addition, Our doctors are trained in various advanced techniques including medication injection, dilation, vessel banding, vessel clipping, vessel ablation, mucosal resection, and radiofrequency ablation which will be performed if deemed medically necessary. Total procedure time varies from 15 to 60 minutes.
After the procedure, you will be observed in a recovery area, and once awake our doctors and his staff will discuss his findings with you or your family. Although you will quickly awake, the sedatives used will cause temporary changes in your reflexes and judgment so you will need someone to take you home after your procedure. We encourage you to take it easy and ask that you not return to work or drive the rest of the day. Unless otherwise specified you are able to resume a normal diet once you are awake.
Before discharge, you will be instructed on when to restart medicines. Pathology is typically available within one week of your procedure. Our doctors will contact you if there are any abnormalities otherwise if you do not hear from our doctors then you should assume that your biopsies were normal. For the diagnostic endoscopies, our doctors will meet with his patients one week after the procedure to discuss findings in detail and further treatment.
What are the possible complications?
Following the procedure it is normal to experience some cramping, bloating, nausea, and sore throat for a few days. Aside from these anticipated side effects endoscopy is one of the safest gastrointestinal procedures and complications are very uncommon.
A few of the potential complications are below.
- Bleeding (most commonly stops on its own and is minor)
- Perforation (requires admission to hospital and possible surgical repair)
- Damage to abdominal organs
- Reaction to sedative medication
- Aspiration of gastric contents into lungs
You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following:
- Severe Pain
- Difficulty Breathing
- Worsening Swallowing