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Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

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 When the examination is completed, the endoscope is slowly withdrawn.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.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 07, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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