What is endoscopy?
Endoscopy is a nonsurgical procedure performed in order to look into a person's digestive tract. Using an endoscope, a flexible tube with a light and camera attached to it, we can view pictures of the digestive tract on a TV monitor.
During an Upper GI Endoscopy, an endoscope is easily passed through the mouth and throat and into the esophagus, allowing the doctor to view the esophagus, stomach, and upper part of the small intestine.
Similarly, endoscopes can be passed into the large intestine (colon) through the rectum to examine this area of the intestine. This procedure is called sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy depending on how far up the colon is examined.
A special form of endoscopy procedure called Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography, or ERCP, allows pictures of the pancreas, gallbladder, and related structures to be taken.
Endoscopic Ultrasound or EUS combines upper endoscopy and ultrasound examination to obtain images and information about various parts of the digestive tract
Endoscopy is routinely performed at the Centers for Medical and Surgical Gastroenterology, Apollo Hospitals, India for the following conditions:
- For patients who suffer from gastrointestinal bleeding, both Banding / injection of esophageal varices and control of bleeding with adrenaline injection / argon plasma coagulation are routinely performed.
- For patients with swallowing difficulty due to esophageal stricture or achalasia, endoscopic dilatation can be carried out under fluoroscopic guidance. Similarly dilatation of pyloric and colonic strictures can also be carried out. In patients with Esophageal tumours, metallic stent placement is done, after dilatation.
- For patients for whom feeding is a problem either due to neurological disorders or altered consciousness levels, endoscopic placement of nasojejunaltube or PEG (Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy) tube is done.
- Endoscopic removal of gastric / colonic polyps is routinely done.
- For patients with obstructive jaundice, ERCP / papillotomy / stone extraction from CBD/biliary stenting (plastic as well as metal stents) can be performed.
- Placement of pancreatic stents in patients with severe pain due to chronic calcific pancreatitis is done.
- Esophageal manometry, pH studies and rectal manometry, which are available in only limited centers, are done routinely and help not only in diagnosis, but also in deciding which patients with gastroesophageal reflux or achalasia are likely to require surgery.
- Other routine procedures like liver biopsy, aspiration of liver abscess and diagnostic and therapeutic paracentesis are done through endoscopy.
How Do I Prepare for Endoscopy?
- Gut Preparation. Examining the upper digestive tract (upper endoscopy or ERCP) requires nothing more than fasting for 6-8 hours prior to the procedure. To examine the colon, it must be cleared of stool. Therefore, a purgative is given on the day before the procedure.
- Sedation. For most examinations with an endoscope, sedation is provided. This increases the comfort of the individual undergoing the examination. The sedative, which is administered via an injection into the vein, produces relaxation and light sleep. There are usually few if any recollections of the procedure. Patients wake up within an hour, but the effects of the medicines are more prolonged, so it is not safe to drive until the next day.
- After you are sedated while lying on your left side the flexible video endoscope, the thickness of a small finger, is passed through the mouth into the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Most patients experience only minimal discomfort during the test and many sleep throughout the entire procedure. Sedation ensures that you feel no discomfort during the entire procedure.
- If your doctor suspects a cancerous growth, they’ll perform a biopsy during your endoscopy. The results will take a few days. Your doctor will discuss the results with you after they get them back from the laboratory.
What happens after the endoscopy?
After the test you will be observed and monitored by a qualified individual in the endoscopy recovery area until a significant portion of the medication has worn off. Occasionally there could be a mild sore throat, which promptly responds to saline gargles, or a feeling of bloating from the air that was used during the procedure. When fully recovered, the patient will be instructed when to resume their usual diet (probably within a few hours).