What is endoscopy?

Endoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that allows your surgeon to have a clear view of the abdomen. It uses an endoscope, which is a long narrow tube with a camera attached to its end. Most endoscopes are inserted through your body’s natural openings such as your mouth. Mr Bickford is an expert in Upper Gastro Intestinal endoscopy

What are the different types of endoscopies?

  • Upper endoscopy: An upper endoscopy, often referred to as oesophago-gastro-duodenoscopy or gastroscopy, is a procedure in which an endoscope is used to examine the lining of the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum. It may be performed to identify an inflammation of the stomach (gastritis), gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), ulcers and tumours.
  • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS): An EUS may be able to diagnose pancreatic cancer or gallstones undetected by standard ultrasound, CT or MRI scans. It combines endoscopy and ultrasound to obtain images of the digestive tract and the surrounding organs.
  • Balloon enteroscopy: A balloon endoscopy is a technique in which balloons attached to the endoscope can be inflated to detect sources of abdominal pain or bleeding, which can be biopsied and treated.
  • Endoscopic Retrograde Cholagio- Pancreatography (ERCP): A dye is injected into the bile and pancreatic ducts using a flexible video endoscope. X-rays are then taken to outline the bile ducts and pancreas.

What are the indications of endoscopy?

Endoscopy may be ordered to visually examine an organ, such as the stomach or intestine, for infection, cancer or damage. It is indicated to diagnose problems such as stomach pain, polyps or growths, digestive tract bleeding, difficulty swallowing, ulcers, and gastritis.

How do I prepare for endoscopy?

Before an endoscopy, you will be instructed to fast and not drink anything for up to 12 hours. It is important for you to discuss with your doctor about all the medicines that you take on a regular basis so you can be advised on the ones you can continue with and those you need to avoid.

How is an endoscopy performed?

You may be administered a sedative, anaesthetic spray or general anaesthesia to keep you comfortable. The endoscope is then gently inserted through your mouth to reach the desired organ. The camera of the endoscope continuously relays images for your surgeon to view on a large monitor. This helps your surgeon detect the problem. Air may be injected through the digestive tract to inflate the tract so that the endoscope can move in smoothly.

The endoscope also allows the passage of instruments used to remove a sample of the diseased or abnormal tissue for further examination in the lab, and even treat the problem simultaneously. Narrowing of different tracts can be opened, benign growths removed and accidentally swallowed objects can be retrieved. Once the condition is diagnosed or treated, the endoscope is carefully removed.

What can I expect after an endoscopy?

After endoscopy, you will be monitored for the anaesthesia to wear off. You may experience a mild sore throat (which you can manage with salt water gargling), bloating, gas or cramping, which usually resolve. You are usually able to start on your regular diet within a few hours after you have fully recovered. Endoscopy is an outpatient procedure and you can go home on the same day unless you must remain in the hospital for other procedures or treatments.

What is my post endoscopy recovery and care?

If you experience any of the following, immediately consult your doctor:

  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Dark stools with blood
  • Severe or persistent abdominal pain
  • Chest pain
  • Vomiting

Are there any risks and complications of endoscopy?

Endoscopy is a safe procedure; however, as with most procedures, it may be associated with certain complications such as:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Gastrointestinal tearing

What is the cost of the procedure?

We will provide you with a full explanation of the costs of the operation to assist you in your decision to proceed. The costs will vary depending on your level of private health insurance.

What are the current research regarding endoscopy?

Ongoing research on endoscopy include:

  1. Pohl H. Evaluating quality in endoscopy. Endoscopy. 2017 Apr 11. doi: 10.1055/s-0043-104380. [Epub ahead of print]
  2. Ray DM, Srinivasan I, Tang SJ, et al. Complementary roles of interventional radiology and therapeutic endoscopy in gastroenterology. World J Radiol. 2017 Mar 28;9(3):97-111.