Preparing For An Endoscopic Procedure
Communication Is Key
- Thoroughly discuss all possible health concerns and conditions with your doctor before your procedure, including pregnancy, current medications, and allergies. Some medications, such as anti-inflammatory medications and aspirin or other blood thinners, can increase the risk of bleeding during the procedure, and may even need to be stopped for several days prior to the procedure. Antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and other medications that may cause drowsiness may interfere with the sedatives. Only stop taking a medication if the doctor orders you to do so.
- Ask your doctor why the procedure is being performed. There should be a clear understanding of what the procedure is intended to find or correct. Endoscopy can be used to visually identify potential problems, biopsy or collect sample tissue, or repair damage to an area, for example, and you should be aware of exactly what purpose your doctor aims to achieve.
- Be sure your doctor is open to discussing the possible risks of the procedure. All surgeries carry certain risks and none should be taken lightly. Possible complications may include:
- Aspiration - This occurs when liquid or food enters the lungs, commonly due to eating or drinking before the procedure. If you have been given instructions to fast, be sure to follow them.
- Bleeding - This can occur if tissue samples or polyps are removed or biopsies are performed. Some medications may increase this risk of bleeding, but in most cases bleeding is easily managed.
- Allergic Reactions - Reactions to certain medications, such as the sedatives given during the procedure, can occur. The sedatives may also interfere with medications you may be taking.
- Tearing - While highly unlikely, tearing is a possible complication to some endoscopic procedures and should be discussed as a risk.
- If your procedure requires that you be given a sedative, you will be unable to drive home afterwards as the effects can cause drowsiness. Be sure to bring a driver with you, as the procedure can't be performed unless you have arranged transportation beforehand. Do not make plans to drive or otherwise operate machinery following the procedure.
- Dress in light, comfortable clothing. Choose something that is loose fitting and can be easily removed and put back on afterwards in case you experience discomfort. Avoid wearing jewelry or other accessories. Glasses and dentures will need to be removed before the surgery begins.
- If you have paperwork such as consent forms to bring with you, be sure to fill them out the night before the surgery and place them where you are sure you won't forget them.
After The Surgery
- Allow for time to recover from the procedure. You will need to be observed for about one hour before being released. Avoid driving, operating machinery, or making any life-changing decisions until you are sure the sedative has worn off. Experiencing some fatigue is common, and you should plan to relax and rest the remainder of the day. Talk to your doctor about when it is reasonable for you to return to work.
- Many patients experience a feeling of bloating as a result of the air introduced during the procedure, or a sore throat. Both of these are common and should not last long. In most cases, you should be able to eat within about an hour after the procedure.
- If a biopsy has been taken, the patient should call for results in roughly 1 to 2 weeks unless otherwise indicated by your doctor.
- In rare cases, severe complications may occur. These should be reported immediately. Symptoms of a serious complication may include the following:
- Severe abdominal pain - more than gas cramps
- A firm distended abdomen
- Fever or temperature in excess of 101u00baF or 38u00baC
- Difficulty swallowing or severe pain in the throat