Endoscopy involves the use of a long, skinny, flexible tube with a TV
camera computer chip at the end to view the inside lining and contours of
the esophagus, stomach and duodenum on a color television screen.
Small doses of sedative medication (not anesthetics) are administered
intravenously to achieve a natural sleep-like state referred to as "deep
sedation." While the patient sleeps, the scope is easily passed through the
mouth, down the foodpipe (not the windpipe) and into the stomach and be-
ginning of the small intestine (the duodenum).
Endoscopy permits the doctor to diagnose a variety of abnormalities
such as inflammation, ulcers, bleeding, polyps, tumors, and hiatal hernia.
When necessary, the doctor can take biopsies, cauterize bleeding ulcers,
remove polyps, balloon narrowed sections as well as check for the presence
of bacteria in the stomach.
The procedure is commonly performed in an ambulatory surgicenter
or an out-patient hospital endoscopy suite. Endoscopy usually takes about
twenty minutes. Once the procedure is completed, the sedation wears off
within a matter of minutes, leaving the patient with no discomfort.
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