If you’re dealing with any digestive problems, your doctor may recommend you get an upper endoscopy done. Notably, it is a medical procedure that is used for examining an individual’s gastrointestinal tract.
During this procedure, the gastroenterologist uses an endoscope, a thin tube with a light and camera attached to it, to view pictures of the gastrointestinal tract. The pictures are displayed on a TV or monitor, which helps the doctor closely examine the digestive tract.
However, like any other medical procedure, the upper endoscopy procedure has its fair share of risks and benefits.
Let’s look at the benefits of an upper endoscopy first.
Benefits of Upper Endoscopy
- Helps in Making a Diagnosis
Upper endoscopy helps in diagnosing conditions that impact the digestive system. It can help diagnose ulcers, celiac disease, bleeding, blockages, tumors, and inflammation.
Moreover, an upper endoscopy also helps figure out the cause of various unexplained symptoms, including heartburn, bleeding, abdominal pain, and vomiting. Importantly, an upper endoscopy is known to be more accurate than gastrointestinal X-rays for diagnosing abdominal growths such as tumors and cancer.
- Helps in Treating Digestive Tract Problems
Upper and lower endoscopy both are widely used for treating various digestive tract problems. If any digestive disorder is found during the procedure, there are better chances of it getting treated in a timely manner.
Moreover, a gastroenterologist passes some special tools through the endoscope for treating different problems in a person’s digestive system, including eliminating a foreign object, widening a narrow esophagus, or clipping off a polyp.
- It is a Safe Procedure
An upper endoscopy is one of the safest medical procedures and had little to no risk. Even if a person does experience any complication during the procedure, it is mostly associated with a pre-existing condition.
- It is a Quick Procedure
An upper endoscopy is an easy and quick procedure. A single session of upper endoscopy takes around 20 minutes. Moreover, the process is not complicated and the patient doesn’t feel anything because of the anesthesia used to numb that certain body part.
Now that you are familiar with the advantages of upper endoscopy, let’s look at the risks included in the process.
Risks Included in Upper Endoscopy
The risk of bleeding after an upper endoscopy is very high if you have gotten a piece of tissue removed for a testing procedure, such as a biopsy. In severe cases of bleeding, a patient may also require a blood transfusion.
Most upper endoscopies include a biopsy and examination, and there is no risk of infection. However, the risk of infection can be increased significantly if any additional procedure is performed as a part of an upper endoscopy.
Typically, the infections are not severe and can be treated easily with antibiotics. Your gastroenterologist may prescribe you preventive antibiotics prior to the procedure if there is any risk of infection.
- Tearing of the Digestive Tract
One may also get a tear in the esophagus or any other part of the upper gastrointestinal tract. In such a case, one may need to get hospitalized or get additional procedures done, like dilation to widen the esophagus.