How is Endoscopy done?

By  , Expert Content
Jul 06, 2011

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Endoscopy is a commonly performed medical procedure. It is usually done in a hospital, although some procedures can be carried out at the doctor’s office.

Before endoscopy

Your doctor may advice you to avoid eating food and drinking liquids for several hours before you have an endoscopy. This is for your safety. If the endoscopy is going to be performed on the bowel, a laxative, medicine to open your bowels and relieve constipation, will be given to help clear out any stool or waste products from your bowels.

In some cases, there are risks of infection because of the procedure, to counter which a dose of antibiotic is given. People who are on any medicine that make the blood thin, such as warfarin, may be advised to stop taking it for a few days before the procedure. This is done to reduce the risk of bleeding during the procedure. However, do not stop taking other prescribed medication (such as for blood pressure or diabetes) without your doctor’s advice. Inform your doctor about all the medications that you take and follow your doctor’s advice regarding timing and dose of your medications.

Endoscopy procedure

You may find the procedure to be 'uncomfortable', but it is usually not 'painful'. During an endoscopy, most people do not require a general anaesthetic. Some patients may be given a local anaesthetic. According to a study, majority of patients undergoing an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy procedure, that were given lidocaine lollipop as a single-agent anaesthetic, did not need any other type of medicine to put them to sleep (anaesthesia or sedation).

The endoscope usually enters the body via the:

  • Anus.
  • Throat.
  • Urethra (urine exits the body through the urethra).
  • A small incision made in the skin.

The procedure (endoscopy) usually lasts from 15 to 60 minutes. In most cases, it is done as day care procedure and the patient rarely needs to spend the night in the hospital.

You may be allowed to go home within an hour of endoscopy. But as the effect of sedative may persist for a few hours, driving is not safe. It is advisable that you get a family member or friend along with you to drive you home after endoscopy..


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