What to Expect During an Endoscopy Procedure

February 13, 2023
3 min read
What to Expect During an Endoscopy Procedure

If your doctor recently recommended an endoscopy procedure, you might not be sure what to expect. An endoscopy procedure, also called an EGD or an esophagogastroduodenoscopy, is useful in diagnosing and treating gastrointestinal illnesses.

Endoscopy Prep: What to Do Before

Endoscopy prep is generally very limited, although your doctor will offer guidelines about what to eat or drink beforehand. Usually, you will be asked to not eat or drink for 4 to 8 hours prior to the procedure. If so, the procedure may need to be postponed. Your doctor may recommend stopping the consumption of your usual vitamins, supplements, or medication regimens up to a week before the endoscopy.

Most likely, you’ll receive written instructions at least a week prior to the procedure. Make sure you read these recommendations and discuss any questions with your provider. Finally, you’ll arrive at the hospital for the procedure itself. You will likely be sedated for the procedure, and your doctor will be there to answer any questions before and after.

Generally, an endoscopy only takes around 10 to 20 minutes. The doctor will insert the gastroscope through the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Using a light and a monitor, the doctor will examine these areas for any signs of abnormalities. They may also take this time to take a biopsy, remove foreign objects, or dilate any narrow portions of the esophagus. The procedure is not painful, and may only produce minor discomfort afterward, possibly a sore throat. Complications from endoscopies are relatively uncommon.

What is an Upper Endoscopy?

An upper endoscopy, as the name suggests, focuses on the gastrointestinal tract's upper half. This is done by passing a flexible tube with a camera through the mouth or nose. This procedure will look at the upper half of the GI tract: the esophagus, the stomach, and the duodenum.

The doctor may recommend an upper endoscopy for several reasons. They might use upper endoscopy to diagnose a GI tract problem, monitor a known illness, or treat a disease. 

For example, if you have unexplained persistent pain in the upper abdomen, your doctor may recommend an upper endoscopy. This is especially true if you’re over 50 years old. Other symptoms may warrant further examination, like persistent nausea and vomiting, unexplained anemia, or abnormal X-rays. Similarly, conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) that haven’t improved with medication might warrant an upper endoscopy. 

Capsule Endoscopy

Your doctor may also recommend a capsule endoscopy. Everything that was previously applied to an upper endoscopy can apply to a capsule endoscopy. The major difference between the two is the method used to view the gastrointestinal tract. Upper endoscopies use an endoscope, a flexible tube with a camera, and a light at the end of it. 

Capsule endoscopies, on the other hand, have the patient swallow a small capsule with a camera inside it. As the capsule passes through the body, it takes thousands of pictures at various points along the way. Your doctor can use these pictures to diagnose gastrointestinal issues the same way they would during an upper endoscopy.

One particular advantage of capsule endoscopies is their ability to photograph parts of the small intestine unreachable by traditional endoscopes.

Expect Top Endoscopy Care from BASS Medical

An endoscopy is an invaluable diagnostic and treatment tool for several gastrointestinal ailments. If you are having problems with your esophagus or stomach, talk to your doctor. They might recommend an endoscopy as the next step in diagnosing and treating your condition. 

BASS Medical Group’s board-certified specialists are dedicated to top service in all facets of primary care. They’re here to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your healthcare needs.