How It Is Done continued...
Once the endoscope is in your
esophagus, your head will be tilted upright. This makes it easier for the scope
to slide down your esophagus. During the procedure, try not to swallow unless
requested to. An assistant may remove the saliva from your mouth with a suction
device, or you can allow the saliva to drain from the side of your mouth.
Your doctor will slowly move the endoscope while looking
through an eyepiece or watching on a video monitor to examine the walls of your
esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Air or water may be injected through the
scope to help clear a path for the scope or to clear its lens, and suction may
be applied to remove air or secretions.
A camera attached to the
endoscope takes pictures for viewing on the monitor and stores some pictures
for later study. The doctor may also insert tiny instruments (forceps, loops,
swabs) through the endoscope to collect tissue samples (biopsy) or remove
growths. The biopsy test is completely painless.
To make it easier
for your doctor to see different parts of your upper gastrointestinal (GI)
tract, you may be repositioned or have gentle pressure applied to your belly.
When the examination is completed, the endoscope is slowly withdrawn.
After the test
The test usually takes 30 to 45
minutes, but it may take longer, depending upon what is found and what is done
during the test.
After the test, you will be observed for 1 to 2
hours until the medicines wear off. If your throat was numbed before the
test, you should not eat or drink until your throat is no longer numb and your
gag reflex has returned to normal.
When you are fully recovered,
you can go home. You will not be able to drive or operate machinery for 12
hours after the test. Your doctor will tell you when you can resume your usual
diet and activities. Do not drink alcohol for 12 to 24 hours after the test.
How It Feels
You may notice a brief, sharp pain when
the intravenous (IV) needle is placed in a vein in your arm. The
local anesthetic sprayed into your throat usually
tastes slightly bitter and will make your tongue and throat feel numb and
swollen. Some people report that they feel as if they cannot breathe at times
because of the tube in their throat, but this is a false sensation caused by
the anesthetic. There is always plenty of breathing space around the tube in
your mouth and throat. Remember to relax and take slow, deep breaths.
During the test, you may feel very drowsy and relaxed from the sedative
and pain medicines. You may have some gagging, nausea, bloating, or mild
abdominal cramping as the tube is moved. If you are having pain, alert your
doctor with an agreed-upon signal or a tap on the arm. Even though you won't be
able to talk during the procedure, you can still communicate.