Endoscopy Overview

An endoscope is a flexible tube that has a small digital camera at one end, and control knobs at the other end. Endoscopes allow excellent examination of the lining of the gastrointestinal tract.

Getting ready for any of these examinations depends on what specific examination is to be done. In general, you need to fast for a minimum of eight hours. In addition, special bowel prep is needed if you are scheduled for a colonoscopy.

Please let your doctor know if you are taking any anticoagulant medications, such as Coumadin, Plavix, or Aspirin. Most likely you will be asked to stop using those medications for approximately 4 days prior to your procedure. Your doctor should also be made aware of any heart condition that you may have which requires the use of prophylactic antibiotics (Have you been advised to use prophylactic antibiotics before having dental work?).

Intravenous sedative medications are usually administered during most endoscopic procedures. This means that you should arrange for a ride home as you will not be able to drive.

Endoscopic procedures are very safe. There is a small potential for complications, however. Possible complications are: bleeding, perforation and infection. Certain procedures, like ERCP or EUS, may cause pancreatitis. Other possible complications are: unexpected reactions to the sedative medications and inflammation of the veins at the site of the intravenous catheter.