WHAT IS AN ENDOSCOPY
An endoscopy is a procedure in which a long, flexible tube known as the endoscope is passed through the mouth and down the back of the throat into the upper digestive tract. This allows your gastroenterologist (aka endoscopy doctors) to visually examine the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (the first portion of the small intestine).
Endoscopy is an extremely worthwhile, common, and safe procedure, which is well-tolerated by patients. It is invaluable in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the upper digestive tract. The conditions endoscopy will diagnose include gastric reflux, inflammation of the esophagus (also known as esophagitis), stomach and duodenum or to identify the site of gastrointestinal bleeding.
Endoscopy can also be used to detect gastric (stomach) and duodenal ulcers, especially when there is bleeding or scarring from a previous ulcer. Further, most problems of the upper digestive tract cannot be diagnosed through an X-Ray, which makes endoscopy an important way to diagnose many conditions not seen by X-Ray or other similar means.
Endoscopy can also be used for treatment, including stretching narrowed areas of esophagus (gastric strictures), stopping GI bleeding, or removal of polyps or swallowed objects. If a suspicious area is spotted, your endoscopy doctors can pass an instrument through the endoscope to treat the intestinal issues, as well as extend diagnostic resources with tools used to complete biopsies.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING AN ENDOSCOPIC PROCEDURE
When having an endoscopy, patients are sedated so that the endoscope can be gently passed through the mouth and into the stomach and then into the duodenum without discomfort. This allows your gastroenterologist (aka endoscopy doctors) to visually examine the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (the first portion of the small intestine).
- During an upper endoscopic procedure, as the procedure gets underway, you will be lying down on a padded procedure table on your back or side.
- You will receive a sedative medication. The anesthesia administered for sedation help patients have a more comfortable procedure, which ultimately aids the physician in completing a more precise diagnosis or treatment.
- We’ll attach monitors to your body, which will allow your health care team to monitor your blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate.
- Gentle air pressure could be fed into your esophagus to inflate your digestive tract to allow the endoscope to move more freely and allow your doctor to more easily examine the folds of your digestive tract.
- The endoscope is inserted into your mouth. A tiny camera at the tip will transmit images to a video monitor in the exam room. Your doctor watches video monitors to carefully guide the endoscope as well as look for abnormalities in your upper digestive tract, and take high definition photos of key areas of interest.
- An endoscopy typically takes 15 to 30 minutes, depending on your personal treatment and/or diagnostic requirements.
- When your doctor has finished the exam, the endoscope is slowly retracted through the mouth, and you are taken to a post-operative recovery room in order to be monitored while you recover from effects of the anesthesia.
WHAT TO EXPECT when having an endoscopy
First, when you arrive at our office you will be welcomed by our thoughtful staff and a dedicated team of experts that deliver personalize care.
To add to your comfort level, we strive to keep the same physicians and nursing staff with the patient throughout all your appointments at the center. In this way, the staff gets to understand the patient’s concerns and conditions, and you get to know the persons taking care of you on a personal level.
Also, we strive to make your visit as hassle free as possible. We accurately schedule visits in advance, provide convenient onsite parking, and keep your waiting period to an absolute minimum.
This is achieved by the fact that no emergency procedures are placed in front of your scheduled time (such as in most hospitals). Also, we do not double book patient appointments, when you are scheduled to be treated that time is assigned only to you.
When undergoing an endoscopy, the following will apply to your endoscopic procedural visit:
- Before any procedure our staff will meet with you to address any last-minute questions you may have.
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight of the eve of your procedure date. Throughout the endoscopy, the doctor will be looking for any unusual growths in the digestive track, therefore, completing a thorough bowel preparation prior to the procedure is important.
- Prior to the procedure you will get changed into one our fresh medical gowns using our private restrooms, or a private patient changing area.
- Once you have changed into the medical gown you will relax and laydown on a padded procedure gurney and you will be transported a short distance to our modern operating room.
- In the operating room, you will meet with your gastroenterologist before your endoscopy to discuss the procedure, if you would like, and thereafter be administered sedation so that the procedure may commence.
- When being sedated you will receive the highest quality anesthesia, administered by highly experienced professionals who will standby you monitoring your sedation throughout the entire procedure.
- The procedure itself will take between 15 to 30 minutes.
- After the procedure, you will be brought back into the post anesthesia recovery area where you will relax until the sedation has worn off.
- After speaking with most patients about their procedure, patients universally comment (paraphrasing of course); “I remember getting changed, laying on the gurney, meeting with my doctor and waking up waiting for the procedure to start”. Once they find out the procedure was completed already, there is usually a couple chuckles they have with our staff.
- With all that being said, once you are alert from your anesthesia, fully dressed and comfortable, you will meet with your physician to discuss the procedure results, before heading home.
- A special note, because you will be sedated for the procedure, you will need to have someone to drive you home even after the sedation has initially worn off, though you may feel fine, your reflexes may be slower than usual until the anesthesia is completely out of your system which can take between 1 to 3 hours after the procedure.
- Also, most patients can return to a normal eating habits immediately after an endoscopic procedure.
The most important thing to remember is not to worry! Our gastroenterologist are highly experienced physicians and we have completed thousands of endoscopies, also we supply our gastroenterologist with only the best equipment to increase safety, as well as diagnostic and treatment effectiveness. Last, but certainly not least, please ask any questions you may have of your healthcare team, who will be there for you during and after your procedure, and all of whom are dedicated to ensure you receive the best care possible.
At Regional Gastrointestinal Consultants (RGC) we have the best gastroenterologists (the best endoscopy doctors / colonoscopy doctors / GI doctors) who have for decades had the privilege of caring for patients in Bucks County, PA, Montgomery County, PA, Mercer County, NJ, Hunterdon County, NJ, Middlesex Count, NJ, and Morris County, NJ. Our physicians also care for patients who fly from all corners of the United States to be cared for as a result of the uncompromising personalized care, and patient-doctor relationship forged over many years of knowing one another.
Whether you’re seeking the best gastroenterologists (the best endoscopy doctors/ colonoscopy doctors / GI doctors), you can rely on our team to provide the most comprehensive and dedicated care.