A diagnostic upper GI endoscopy is done so that the doctor can look inside the patient’s upper digestive tract if the patient has been suffering symptoms like persistent pain, nausea, vomiting, local bleeding, or difficulty swallowing.
Upper GI endoscopy gives a better picture of inflammation, ulceration, and tumours than x-rays do. An endoscopy can also be done to treat an upper digestive tract problem with only little discomfort for the patient.
During an upper endoscopy, the patient will have to lie down on a table on their back or their side. Often monitors are attached to the patient’s body so that the doctors can monitor their breathing, blood pressure and heart rate.
The patient may be given a sedative medication through a vein in their forearm to help them relax during the endoscopy. The doctor may spray an anaesthetic in the patient’s mouth to numb their throat so that the long, flexible tube (endoscope) can be inserted.
The patient will be made to wear a plastic mouth guard to hold their mouth open and then the endoscope is inserted in the mouth. As the scope passes down the throat, the patient is asked to swallow. They may fell pressure in the throat but there shouldn’t be any pain.
After the endoscope has been passed down their throat, the patient can’t talk, though they can make noises. The endoscope doesn’t interfere with the patient’s breathing.
The doctor may feed gentle air pressure into the patient’s oesophagus to inflate their digestive tract so that the endoscope can move freely and the folds of their digestive tract can be examined more easily. A feeling of pressure or fullness can be felt because of this air.
Special surgical tools will be passed through the endoscope to collect a tissue sample or remove a polyp. The doctor uses a video monitor to guide the tools.
The doctor will slowly retract the endoscope from the patient’s mouth after the exam is finished. The procedure can take anywhere from five to 20 minutes to complete, depending upon the patient’s situation.
After the endoscopy is over, the patient is taken to a recovery area where they can sit or lie for an hour or so. During this time, the health care team monitors the patient as the sedatives begin to wear off.
Once the patient comes home, they might feel mildly uncomfortable because of some bloating and gas, cramping and sore throat.
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