Are there any risks in having an Endoscopy?

April 7, 2010

An endoscopy is considered to be a minimally invasive diagnostic procedure. As with any invasive procedure, there is always some risk that is involved. Endoscopy however, has proven to carry with it minimal amount of risk and less than 1% of the patients have reported any ill-effects.

If you are to undergo an endoscopy, you would need to understand what the procedure involves.

In this medical procedure, an endoscope is used to examine the inside of a person's body. An endoscope is a thin and flexible fiber optic tube, with a video camera and light at one end. This is carefully inserted into a person's body, usually through the mouth. The camera takes images of the insides of the body such as the organs and tissues, which is then projected on a computer screen, and allows doctors to make a health assessment.

There are various specialized types of endoscopes for examining various organs such as the bronchoscopes which examines the lungs and air passages, colonoscopes which examine the colon, hysteroscopes which examine a woman's uterus, cytoscopes which examine the urinary bladder and gastroscopes which examine the esophagus (throat), stomach and small intestines.

An endoscopy is usually done to check for causes of stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic diarrhea, urinary tract infections or breathing disorders. They may also be used for biopsies to help diagnose cancer, or for surgical procedures such as sealing the fallopian tubes, removing the gall bladder, or taking out small foreign objects or tumors from the digestive system or lungs.

An endoscopy would take roughly around 15 minutes to 1 hour to get completed. If you are having the procedure, you may be asked to fast for a few hours before the procedure. In case you are taking any blood thinning medications, you will be asked to stop them for a few days in order to reduce chances of heavy bleeding during the procedure.

You will be made to lie down comfortably while a sedative or mild anesthetic will be administered. While there is no pain, you may feel mild discomfort and irritation at the point where the endoscope is inserted.

A patient who has undergone an endoscopy may get an infection. This is characterized by swelling, redness, pain, pus or fluid discharge in the area of insertion, or one could even get a temperature.

Some people may also bleed more than the others. If it is too severe, it may require surgery to correct the problem. Surgery may also be needed in case the endoscope accidentally tears or pierces an internal organ.

A few patients may develop an allergy to the anesthetic or sedative which is given before the procedure. This however is not too severe, and is easily treated with antihistamines.

Submitted by M T on April 7, 2010 at 09:40

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