In our previous blog, one of our DDC Orlando doctors scheduled Elena, our sample mini-case study, for an upper endoscopy. Appropriately, this article will focus on the procedure and bring you some of the facts, truths and secrets concerning it.
The Digestive Disease Consultants of Orlando want you to know that an upper endoscopy should not cause you any intense anxiety. Rather, you should feel reassured, because the upper endoscopy empowers your gastroenterologist to diagnose, and sometimes treat, problems in your esophagus, stomach and the beginning of the small intestine.
Upper Endoscopy: Not Your Grandmother’s Test
We know some of you have heard stories of rough endoscopy experiences, without sufficient sedation or preparation. Our care team is aware that some people fear and avoid this test.
However, this procedure and the protocols surrounding it have been upgraded, polished and refined in the 21st century. So we want you to realize that at DDC Orlando, our gentle staff of endoscopic experts will do everything in their power to secure your safety and comfort during the procedure. Likewise, at DDC Orlando, our health care team utilizes only the best and most up-to-date technology and equipment.
Your Official Introduction to Upper Endoscopy
You probably already know that during this procedure, the gastroenterologist will create pictures and video of your upper digestive system through a tiny camera on the end of a long, slender, flexible tube. But we are sure you want to know more. So, let’s break down the test, step by step. We want you to know exactly what to expect at your DDC Orlando upper endoscopy procedure.
1. Safety First
Your endoscopy experience begins as your DDC healthcare team members will attach monitors to your body. Thus we will be constantly observing your breathing, your blood pressure and your heart rate.
2. The Comfort of Sedative Medication
To make you comfortable during your endoscopy, our I.V. specialist will place a tiny I.V. needle in your forearm. You will feel a calming medication which will make you drowsy and relaxed.
4. Local Anesthetic
Your DDC doctor will paint or spray some local anesthetic into your mouth. It won’t be the most wonderful treat you ever tasted, but it will bring a nice numbness to your throat. This prepares the way for the endoscopic tube you will help swallow. A mouth-guard is set in place to protect your teeth and gums.
5. The Introduction of the Scope
The endoscope is positioned carefully in your mouth, and you swallow as the scope travels down your throat. At DDC Orlando we prepare you for a sensation of pressure, but not pain.
We know you like to talk, but from this point until the extraction of the endoscope you will be unable to do so. You can make noises, however, and you will not have a problem breathing. Remember, the scope is in your esophagus (food tube,) not your trachea (air tube.)
While You Relax, Your Doctor Pilots the Endoscope
At this point, we recommend you relax into the drowsiness of your sedation because your doctor is going to work. Let’s take a look at what he sees as well as what you will feel:
Amazing Technology in a Micro-Mini-Movie, Starring Your Upper GI Tract
That tiny camera on the end of the tube transmits the larger-than-life movie of Things That Are Happening in My Stomach, or Epic Events of
My Esophagus. And your doctor can see it on a monitor in real time, right there in the endoscopic suite.
Yes, now we even have HDTV, for excellent contrast and high definition in our images, although it is unlikely your tummy will create a Blockbuster film. And yet, your endoscopy pictures could be the most life-changing video of your career, paving your way to an action plan for a healthier, happier life.
As if he were a detective watching the enactment of a crime, your doctor can look at, collect and record clues to your diagnosis. He makes detailed pictures for his scrutiny later.
Constantly improving technology have brought our DDC doctors bright light sources and micro-mini lenses. Thus, innovative technology increases the clarity of the tissues–and the digestive issues–we can see through the endoscope.
Opps…Just Air for the Upper Endoscopy
DDC Orlando Doctors do not want you to be alarmed if you feel some soft pressure from air flowing into your esophagus. With a cushion of air, the endoscope can move effortlessly as it investigates your digestive tract with the careful piloting of your gastroenterologist.
Taking Evidence: Biopsies
With the video as his guide, the doctor can utilize special tools through the endoscope. For example, he can take miniscule samples of tissue from your stomach or esophagus. Disease cannot hide from an endoscope, and later the microscope will yield more evidence of what might be wrong with your digestive system. (If biopsies particularly fascinate you, you might like to read some detailed new research at the GIE Journal.)
A Procedure Packed With Options
By the way, you might hear another name for this medical test, an esophago-gastoduodenoscophy, but usually Upper Endoscopy is sufficient, and a little more patient-friendly. Let’s look at 4 major options packed into this one procedure:
A. An Investigation of Your Symptoms:
In our on-going case study, patient “Elena” has endured nausea, vomiting, heartburn, great difficulty swallowing and some episodes of gastrointestinal bleeding. The upper endoscopy is the most sure and certain way to examine the basis of this array of symptoms.
B. Forming and Confirming a Diagnosis:
As we have stated previously on this blog, over 95% of the patients who take this test fall into the category of people with very treatable problems. The other small percent might be suffering from more life-threatening or critical conditions like Barrett’s esophagus or cancer.
C. Enriching the Endoscopy with Other Tests
Other tests can be accomplished during your endoscopy. Your doctor can add an ultrasound probe to the endoscope, and thus create images of your esophagus or small intestine. This investigative technique can even yield ultrasound pictures of your most elusive organs, like the pancreas.
Only with this test, can we screen you proficiently. With this procedure, we can find out the truth about which percentage you are, discuss treatment options, and get you on the way to feeling much better. You might even learn to enjoy the delights of dining again.
D. Therapy And Treatments: Gifts of the Endoscope
The last note on our list of our 4 major options packed into your endoscopy, but certainly not least, is the fact that this procedure can be more than a test. It can be a treatment even while your DDC Orlando doctor is actually using it for diagnosis.
Once your doctor is examining your upper GI tract with the endoscope, he can even utilize a special insturment to remove a polyp or cauterize a bleeding blood vessel while you are still under sedation.
Likewise, if he finds a narrowed area, he can gently stretch parts of the esophageal wall so food may pass more properly through the channel.
Many other procedures for therapy and treatment are possible through the endoscope, now and in the near future. It’s not just a diagnostic tool anymore.
And you can count on DDC Orlando to regularly bring you all the latest news about new treatment options. Thank you for reading our blog, and please return next week to discover more details about endoscopy.