Gastrointestinal endoscopy is a valuable tool used in the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of diseases of the digestive tract. This procedure is also used as a screening tool for cancer. Abnormalities suspected by symptoms or X-ray can be studied in detail during the exam.
The physician performing your procedure is a board-certified gastroenterologist. A gastroenterologist is an internist with a subspecialty in gastroenterology. Your physician is a specialist in diagnosing and treating diseases of the digestive system. In addition to standard medical education and training, your physician has received intense education and clinical training specific to the digestive system and has been thoroughly trained in the safe and proper operation of the endoscope.
The gastroenterologists at Community Digestive Center perform all procedures with high-definition endoscopes. This technology allows the physician to visualize greater detail through the endoscope. The exceptional imaging enables them to identify cancers and GI disease earlier as well as complete procedures more easily and efficiently.
Endoscopy is an extremely safe and important diagnostic procedure that is very well tolerated by patients. While every medical procedure involves some degree of risk, the frequency of complications during endoscopy is extremely low.
The main risks of endoscopy are perforation, or a tear, of the digestive lining or bleeding. Although perforation generally requires surgery, certain cases may be treated with antibiotics and intravenous fluids. Bleeding may occur at the site of a biopsy or polyp removal. Typically minor in degree, such bleeding may simply stop on its own or be controlled by cauterization. Seldom does surgery become necessary. Fortunately, both perforation and bleeding are extremely rare during endoscopy.
Other minor risks include drug reactions and complications related to other diseases. You should inform your doctor of all allergic tendencies and medical problems. While complications may occur, it should be remembered that they occur quite infrequently. Your physician can further discuss the risks with you specific to your particular need for endoscopy.