This procedure uses an endoscope (a long, flexible, lighted tube) to examine the small bowel. It is usually done to locate sources of bleeding in the GI tract.
You should not have anything to eat or drink after midnight the night before your exam. Be sure to talk to your physician about taking any of your regular medicines or insulin on the day of the procedure. Some physicians prefer you do not take certain anti-inflammatory medicines, aspirin, or blood thinning medicines for up to one week prior to your exam. Be sure to inform your physician about any medications that you take routinely when booking your procedure. Upon your arrival to the hospital, your nurse will also review this information with you.
Please plan to arrive one hour prior the time of your exam to allow time for your pre-exam interview and to get your medication started. You should expect to remain for recovery for approximately one hour after the procedure. On the day of the exam, you must have a ride home. Do not drive for 24 hours. Plan on taking it easy for the rest of the day. Please do not wear jewelry to the hospital. You may wear dentures and hearing aids to the hospital but dentures will be removed for the exam.
Before the procedure, an IV (intravenous line) will be placed in your arm so that sedation can be given. Just prior to the procedure, you may also be given a medicine to gargle, or a spray to numb the throat to prevent gagging. The procedure is usually done using a combination of sedative and pain medicine to provide a moderate degree of sedation. A registered nurse will be with you throughout the exam to monitor your medication and vital signs.
During the exam, a thin, flexible, lighted tube with a tiny television lens sends a picture to a TV screen for the physician's viewing. The endoscope will blow some air into the stomach to expand the folds, making it easier for the doctor to see the lining of the organs involved. The physician will be able to see inflammation, ulcers, bleeding, etc.. Small tissue samples called biopsies may be taken for further testing in the hospital laboratory. Any minor bleeding from the exam is controlled through the scope by a cauterization instrument or by medicines. The procedure takes approximately 20-30 minutes.
Complications are rare but can include perforation (puncture) of the esophageal or stomach lining.