Determining what is causing you to experience certain problems such as upper abdominal pain, nausea or difficulty swallowing cannot be done in a single office visit. Additional testing is often required to obtain valuable information and imaging that can help Dr. Pothuri get you a proper diagnosis. The most common type of additional testing that is ordered is an endoscopy.
Learn more about what an endoscopy is, when it is necessary, and what exactly will happen should our doctor need to perform this procedure.
Taking a closer look at an endoscopy
An endoscopy, sometimes called an “EGD,” is a non-robotic minimally invasive procedure that captures imaging of the upper digestive tract without requiring the need for complex and potentially dangerous surgery. Using a long, flexible tube that has a small, high-quality camera and light attached to the end, Dr Pothuri can obtain detailed imaging of your esophagus, stomach and parts of the small intestine.
In addition to obtaining detailed images of the upper digestive tract, an endoscopy can take biopsies. A biopsy removes a small sample of tissue. That sample of tissue is then sent to the lab for further testing to determine if there is presence of a disease.
If a problem is discovered, an endoscopy may be used to correct it. Some problems that can be corrected during an endoscopic procedure include opening narrowed areas, controlling bleeding, removing abnormal growths or tumors, removing stuck objects, and banding any abnormal veins in the esophagus.
When is an endoscopy necessary?
Endoscopy testing is ordered when your doctor believes the symptoms you are experiencing may be caused by internal gastrointestinal problems that are directly affecting your upper digestive system.
An endoscopy is usually ordered for patients who exhibit the following symptoms or problems:
- Persistent heartburn
- Vomiting and nausea that are not connected to a specific illness
- Upper abdominal pain
- Tenderness or swelling in the abdominal area
- Stomach bleeding
- Difficulty swallowing
- Esophagus pain
After imaging has been gathered with an endoscopy, our doctor can use the information obtained to diagnosis a number of diseases or problems. Some examples of the diseases and problems that can be diagnosed with an endoscopy include:
- Peptic ulcers
- Inflammation of the stomach or esophagus
- Swallowing disorders
- Tears in the lining of the stomach, esophagus or small intestine that cause internal bleeding
- Blockages in the stomach or esophagus
- Celiac disease
- Crohn's disease
- Infections present in the upper GI tract
What to expect during an endoscopy
The actual endoscopy procedure is fairly quick. It usually lasts only 10 to 30 minutes. However, you will spend several hours at the outpatient facility as you will have to prep for the procedure, have the actual procedure performed, and then spend time in recovery. From start to finish, the entire procedure may last 3â€’5 hours.
Before our doctor performs an endoscopy, an anesthesia and sedative are administered. Anesthesia will block your awareness of pain, while a sedative will relax you so it is easier to perform the procedure. Commonly, a mild sedative that will quickly relax you is used for endoscopy. With the use of a mild sedative, you will still be conscious, but extremely relaxed, so relaxed you may even fall asleep.
During the procedure, you will lie down on the left side of your body. Our doctor and his staff will place a small mouthpiece in your mouth. The mouthpiece helps protect your teeth and keeps your mouth open during the endoscopy. You will also be hooked up to a number of machines that allow our staff to monitor everything from your temperature and blood pressure to your heart rate.
Our doctor then inserts the flexible tube with the tiny camera into your mouth. The flexible tube will slowly make its way down your esophagus and to the stomach. Once the tube is inserted, our doctor can take photos with the camera, remove objects with specialized tools, and take tissue samples. The flexible tube is then slowly removed, and you are taken to recovery where you will be observed for approximately an hour by our medical staff before going home.
In recovery, our doctor may discuss the results of the tests with you or the individual you brought with you to the appointment. It may take a few days or weeks for the results of any additional testing, such as biopsies, to be obtained. If additional testing was performed, our doctor will follow up with you at a later date about the results.
Experiencing symptoms that may indicate you are having problems with your upper digestive tract? An endoscopy may be needed to help identify the cause of the symptoms. Schedule an appointment, either by phone or by using our website, with Dr Pothuri to discuss the need for an endoscopy.