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What Is Endoscopy?

Endoscopy is a way to examine your digestive tract with a camera, called an endoscope. The endoscope is a flexible tube with a light and the camera attached. Through this state-of-the-art technology, physicians can diagnose and treat many gastrointestinal symptoms and diseases.

These symptoms could be:

  • stomach pain,
  • heartburn,
  • bleeding in your digestive tract,
  • ulcers or gastritis,
  • difficulty swallowing,
  • chronic constipation,
  • diarrhea, or
  • polyps or growths in your colon.

In addition, we may use endoscopy procedures to monitor your health even if you don’t have symptoms. When you have an endoscopy, you will be breathing on your own but sedated so you are comfortable for the entire procedure. You will likely fall mostly asleep and not remember much.

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What Does an Endoscopy Show?

During the endoscopy, your physician can view your digestive tract on a color TV monitor. Your physician will be looking for any signs of disease or abnormalities. They may also take samples of any abnormalities that are found during the procedure.

What Diseases Can Be Detected by Endoscopy?

Gastrointestinal endoscopy is a diagnostic tool, meaning it can help doctors better diagnose your problem. Doctors can diagnose diseases such as the following:

Types of Endoscopy Procedures

Our endoscopy center offers these endoscopy procedures:

  • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy EGD – or Upper Scope
  • Colonoscopy – or lower scope
  • Therapeutic endoscopies
  • More specific treatments during upper or lower endoscopies, including
    • dilations,
    • banding, or
    • feeding tube placements

How to Prepare for an Endoscopy

You will receive specific instructions for your endoscopy depending on what type you are scheduled to have. Generally, however, you will need to fast the day before the procedure (usually overnight). You may need to take laxatives to clean out your GI system if doing a lower scope.

Before your endoscopy your doctor will also meet with you to:

  • give you a brief physical examination.
  • review your medical history.
  • find out about any medications you are taking, including over the counter drugs.

You can ask your doctor about any concerns you have at this time.

What to Expect at an Endoscopy

You won’t have to stay overnight at the hospital or clinic to get your endoscopy unless specified by the doctor. When you arrive, you will check in. (You can complete part of the check in MyChart before your appointment, such as confirming your information.)

The nurses will prepare you for your procedure at our GI endoscopy lab. Once you arrive at the lab, our nurses will have you change into a hospital gown, review your medical history, and place an IV. You might have a short wait while the procedure before yours is completed.

You will then be taken to the procedure room. There you will lay on a table and the technician will position you, depending on what type of endoscopy you are having (whether the endoscope is inserted through your rectum or esophagus). During your procedure, you will receive the sedative medication through an IV. 

Does Endoscopy Hurt?

We understand that you might feel anxiety before and during the procedure. You will receive sedative medication continuously during the procedure so you will not be uncomfortable. Using mindfulness and mediation exercises can help you, however, feel more relaxed. Consider these mindfulness techniques.

How Long Does an Endoscopy Take?

The endoscopy procedure itself usually takes about 15-45 minutes to complete. The length of time you will be at the hospital or clinic will be about two to three hours, depending on how long you take to fully wake up from the sedation.

Endoscopy Anesthesia

Most procedures are done with conscious sedation through an IV. You will have oxygen on your nose or mouth, but be breathing on your own and mostly asleep.

If you have a general anesthetic, you will be completely asleep during the whole procedure and wake up once it is finished. An anesthesiologist will assist in your breathing.

After Endoscopy

After the endoscopy, we will take you to the recovery room where we will observe you as you come out of sedation. This will usually be about 30-60 minutes while the sedation wears off.

You should not drive for 24 hours after your procedure.

Can You Eat After an Endoscopy?

Your doctor will tell you at the time of procedure when it’s safe for you to eat and if you need a modified diet such as soft foods. 

Endoscopy Results

After the endoscopy, the physician will review your results. They will speak to you about these results in the recovery room. If we have taken a biopsy, we will contact you with those results within seven to ten business days.

If your physician has any concerns, they will call you to discuss your results.

Find an Endoscopy Location Near You

Endoscopy Vs. Colonoscopy

An endoscopy is a nonsurgical procedure to examine the digestive tract. A colonoscopy is also a type of endoscopy. It examines the lower part of your digestive tract. This includes your rectum and large intestine (colon).

Endoscopies can examine multiple areas of the body, depending on what your doctor needs to examine. A colonoscopy, however, is specifically to check the health of your large intestine and rectum. It is also an exam to detect and prevent cancer.

Colorectal Cancer Screening Guidelines

Huntsman Cancer Institute and University of Utah Health recommend you start screening for colorectal cancer at age 45.

Talk to your provider about what cancer screenings are right for you. Screening recommendations differ if you have higher-than-average risk and a family history of colorectal cancer. You may need additional screening exams.

Risk factors for colorectal cancer include:

Our team at The Family Cancer Assessment Clinic at Huntsman Cancer Institute helps you find out if genes play a role in your personal or family health history.

Scheduling Your Endoscopy

To get an endoscopy at one of our clinics, you will need a referral. More than likely your physician or specialist will refer you if you need an endoscopy. 

If you are getting a colonoscopy for colon cancer screening, you can schedule an appointment with us by calling 801-213-9797.

Endoscopy Cost

The endoscopy cost is usually covered by your insurance. We have an authorization team that works with your insurance prior to your endoscopy as well. If you do not have insurance, view some of our resources.