What is medical endoscopy?

22 Aug, 2022

An endoscope is a long, thin tube with a small camera inside. It is used by doctors to examine different parts of the human body. It is passed into your body through natural openings, without the need to make surgical openings. An endoscope can be used to examine the digestive, respiratory or urinary system.

The upper endoscopy of the digestive system allows doctors to see and examine the inner lining as well as the mucous membranes of the esophagus, stomach, and the upper part of the small intestine. whereas the lower endoscopy (colonoscopy) allows doctors to study the entire colon as well as the last part of the small intestine. The endoscope also collects tissue samples from the digestive tract to be examined under a microscope for accurate diagnosis.

Medical endoscopy is classified as a one-day procedure. Patients rarely need to stay in the hospital longer than a few hours, unless the disease is serious. A lower endoscope for the digestive system is required, in which case the child must be prepared a day in advance, or if a child needs general anesthesia to execute the endoscope efficiently and safely.

Getting Ready for a Colonoscopy

The patient must get ready the day before a colonoscopy. There are some general principles, with the following summary of the most significant ones:
  • The patient should only consume water and non-dense transparent liquids like cider, lemon, orange, green tea, and clear soft drinks after having a light lunch the day before the endoscopy. After that, the patient should avoid eating solid foods altogether. Avoid drinking red or violet colored beverages which can be mistaken for blood and give the doctor the incorrect impression that the intestines are bleeding during the colonoscopy.
  • Your doctor will usually recommend taking a prescription laxative, to help clean the colon.
  • In the case of general anesthesia for children, the patient must go 6–8 hours without eating or drinking before the endoscopy.
  • It is crucial for the patient to let their doctor know what medications they are taking. The patient may need to adjust, reduce, or discontinue the prescription several days before the endoscopic treatment. Blood thinners, aspirin, antidepressants for arthritis, insulin, diabetes drugs, and iron are just a few of the medications that the doctor must be informed about.

During the procedure

The endoscopy is carried out while the patient is under a simple to mild anaesthetic, which keeps him cognizant enough to breathe and not fully unconscious. But when it comes to kids, endoscopic procedures are frequently carried out under general anesthesia.

The upper diagnostic endoscope of the digestive tract takes 10-15 minutes or less, and the diagnostic speculum of the colon may take 30-45 minutes (or less), in addition to the time needed for anesthesia, which is roughly 10 minutes before and 15 minutes after.

The pen-sized endoscope is used to collect samples from various digestive tract locations, which are then transferred to the tissue lab for analysis. The patient is moved to the recovery room when the endoscopy is over, and only then is he or she permitted to leave and return home or to the hospital room.

Is endoscopy a safe procedure?

An endoscopy is very safe, and thousands of such procedures are carried out every day without any issues or consequences. However, some individuals may encounter the following mild complications:
  • Dizziness and nausea as a side effect of anaesthetic medicines.
  • Itching in the throat caused by an endoscope friction of the throat roof during the endoscopy which goes away in a few hours and can be relieved by consuming cold drinks.
  • A feeling of bloating and gas escape as a result of the process of using air to inflate the stomach and intestines so that their tissue may be easily seen.

Hemorrhage or intestinal perforation is a rare symptom that only occurs in a tiny percentage of people. Patients who experience severe illness symptoms, where the tissue is inflamed and noticeably weak, exhibit this. However, endoscopy is typically a relatively safe procedure, and for the time being, an accurate diagnosis cannot be made without it.

How and when do I get the endoscopy results?

The endoscopy results are explained, and the treatment plan frequently starts right away. If the diagnosis is unclear, the doctor waits one to two weeks for the findings of the tissue evaluation.