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Endoscopy - Dr. Shang Weights in on What to Expect?

An endoscopy is a procedure where the inside of your body is examined using an endoscope. An endoscope is a long, thin, flexible tube that has a light source and camera at one end. Images of the inside of your body are relayed to a television screen. Endoscopes can be inserted into the body through a natural opening, such as the mouth and down the throat, or through the bottom. An endoscope can also be inserted through an incision made in the skin when keyhole surgery is being carried out.

When is an Endoscopy needed?

Endoscopy is normally part of a routine, comprehensive evaluation of your digestive system. Your doctor might suggest this minimally invasive, virtually painless procedure for a variety of reasons:

+ To check symptoms you have described that are most likely digestion-related

To help your doctor evaluate the severity of a digestive condition

To check the status of an existing digestive disorder

To target a specific location to remove some cells for a biopsy

To screen for cancer in patients who may be at high risk

To perform a specific therapy, such as removing polyps or a foreign body, or to stop bleeding

With this procedure, you can be assured of the accuracy of the diagnosis. An endoscopy, upper or lower, is more accurate than an X-ray for detecting inflammation, ulcers, or small tumors of the esophagus, stomach, duodenum, or lower GI tract.

How should I prepare for my Endoscopy?

Your doctor will give you specific instructions to prepare for your endoscopy. In some cases your doctor may ask that you:

Fast before the endoscopy. You will need to stop drinking and eating four to eight hours before your endoscopy to ensure your stomach is empty for the procedure.

Take a laxative. You may be asked to take a laxative or use an edema to help clear stools from your bowels if you're having a colonoscopy to examine the large intestine or a sigmoidoscopy to examine the rectum and lower part of the bowel.

Stop taking certain medications. You will need to stop taking certain blood-thinning medications in the days before your endoscopy. Blood thinners may increase your risk of bleeding if certain procedures are performed during the endoscopy. If you have chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure, your doctor will give you specific instructions regarding your medications.

Take antibiotics. In some cases, you may be asked to take antibiotics to reduce the risk of an infection.

++Remember to tell your doctor about all the medications and supplements you're taking before your endoscopy.+++

What to expect after an endoscopy?

After having an endoscopy, you'll probably need to rest for about an hour until the effects of the local anesthetic or sedative have worn off.

If you decide to have a sedative, a friend or relative will need to take you home after the procedure, as you cannot drive for at least 12 hours following the procedure. You may feel mentally alert, but your memory, reaction times and judgment may be impaired. You may also need to take the day off from work. Don't make any important personal or financial decisions for 24 hours.

What are the risks?

An endoscopy is usually a safe procedure, and the risk of serious complications is very low. Minor side-effects include pain or redness at the IV site, gas or bloating, or drowsiness after the procedure. Rarely, discomfort may be felt in the abdomen.

The following are rare risks of these procedures, but could be potentially life threatening:

Injury to the lining of the digestive tract resulting in perforation of stomach and leakage into body cavities.

If this occurs, surgical operation to close the leak and drain the region may be necessary.

Bleeding, if it occurs, is usually a complication of biopsy, polyp removal, dilation or electrocoagulation. Management of this complication may consist only of careful observation or may require hospitalization, transfusion or rarely surgical operation for control.

Heart or lung complication. Very rare, but could happen. i.e. Acute cardiac infraction, angina or inhaling pneumonia.

Adverse reaction to medications.

Missed cancer.

Possible complications from Sedation:

Sedation is usually safe, but it can occasionally cause complications, including:

feeling or being sick

a burning sensation at the site of the injection

saliva or, rarely, small particles of food falling into the lungs, triggering an infection (aspiration pneumonia)

irregular heartbeat or low blood pressure

breathing difficulties

OASIS Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Package

Dr. Shang is a master’s degree graduate of Dalian Medical University. She completed further advanced studies at the Beijing Cancer Hospital Endoscopy center. Dr. Shang has worked in the Military General Hospital of Beijing PLA and the Beijing Canaan Clinic as an Internal Medicine Physician, gaining years of clinical experience. Dr. Shang specializes in digestive diseases and can independently diagnose and treat stomach and colon conditions such as, argon plasma coagulation (APC) and endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR), hemoclips therapy, hemostasis and more.