Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Procedure of Upper Endoscopy

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Upper endoscopy is a helpful procedure used to identify the causes of abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, swallowing difficulties, or bleeding. Upper endoscopy is a routine, outpatient procedure which enables physicians to look inside the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract. This includes the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. For this procedure, the patient swallows a thin, flexible, lighted tube called an endoscope that views the images on a video monitor. This test is more accurate than X-rays for detecting inflammation, ulcers and tumors of the gastrointestinal tract. This essay reviews the three stages of the procedure of upper endoscopy in which the inside of the upper digestive system is examined.

The first stage, which is before the actual procedure, includes some preparatory steps. These steps are designed to maximize the safety of the patient during and after the procedure and also to minimize any complications that may occur. The patient will be asked to fast for approximately six hours prior to the procedure. An empty stomach allows for the best and safest examination. In addition, the patient must arrange with someone to drive him/her home after the procedure. The patient should also tell his/her doctor in advance about any medications he/she takes. There might be a need to adjust the dose for the examination.

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As soon as all preparations are done, the actual procedure which takes less than 20 minutes, begins. The procedure is performed by an experienced endoscopy physician. First the patient is asked to wear a hospital gown and remove his/her dentures. Then a local anesthetic is applied at the back of the patient’s throat. Next, the patient is given a sedative through the intravenous line. After that, a mouth piece is placed in the patient’s mouth to prevent damage to his/her teeth and the scope. Following this step, the patient lies on his/her left side. Finally, the physician inserts an endoscope into the patient’s mouth and the patient will be asked to swallow it. The endoscope contains channels that allow the physician to take biopsies, small pieces of tissue, and to introduce or withdraw fluid and air. The physician will get an image reflected on a TV monitor. This image is magnified many times so that the physician can see minute changes in tissue.

In the third and the last stage, the patient is monitored for 10 minutes to make sure that most of the effects of the medication have worn off. The most common discomfort after the procedure is a feeling of bloating, from the air introduced during the examination, which resolves quickly. Some patients also have a mild sore throat. The doctor will then discuss the results of the test with the patient. If the results indicate that prompt medical attention is needed, the necessary arrangements will be made. Afterwards the patient can be driven home by a friend. The patient should not drive or operate machinery for at least eight hours after the procedure.

In conclusion, three stages make up the procedure of upper endoscopy which helps in examining the upper part of digestive system. First, the patient is prepared for the procedure to ensure the safety of the patient and to minimize any possible complications. After that, the actual procedure occurs when the image is examined. Finally, the patient is monitored until she/he recovers from the effects of the procedure.

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