Preparation and Uses of Esophagoscopy | ENT Specialist

What is esophagoscopy?

An esophagoscopy is a procedure that lets your doctor examine the inside of your esophagus using an extended thin instrument called an endoscope. The endoscope covers light and a camera that transmits pictures of the inside of your esophagus to a video screen. Esophagoscopy can assistance diagnose and treat diseases and illnesses of the esophagus, such as esophageal cancer, Barrett’s esophagus, and objects stuck in the esophagus.

The esophagus is a muscular tube situated in the upper gastrointestinal tract that connects your mouth to your stomach. An esophagoscopy can help your physician diagnose mysterious symptoms you may be having, such as difficulty swallowing, upper abdominal pain, vomiting blood, or regurgitation. An esophagoscopy can also demonstrate certain structures of the throat and larynx (voice box).

Esophagoscopy is a slightly invasive procedure that can often be performed in an outpatient setting. The process does not require an incision and generally has a quick recovery and a very low risk of complications.

Esophagoscopy is only one technique used to treat and diagnose conditions of the esophagus. Ask your physician or healthcare provider about all of your options to understand which option is best for you.

Why do I need this test?

This procedure provides your doctor with specific information that X-rays and other tests do not. Your doctor may recommend NETs to determine the cause of symptoms such as heartburn or chest pain or to assess healing after weight loss surgery. Your doctor may also use NET as a therapeutic procedure and may obtain a tissue sample (biopsy) for examination under a microscope.

Types of esophagoscopy

The types of esophagoscopy include:

Flexible esophagoscopy: Flexible esophagoscopy is done by inserting a thin, flexible endoscope through the mouth and depressed the throat into the esophagus.

Transnasal supple esophagoscopy: Transnasal supple esophagoscopy is performed by inserting a thin, flexible endoscope through the nose and down the throat into the esophagus.

Rigid esophagoscopy: Rigid esophagoscopy is done by inserting a rigid endoscope through the mouth and depressed the throat into the esophagus.

Preparation of esophagoscopy

You can prepare for an esophagoscopy by responsibility for the following:

  • Do not eat or drink for about six to eight hours before your esophagoscopy. This clears your stomach so your doctor can see the inside of your upper GI tract more easily. You can motionlessly drink clear liquids, such as water, juice, coffee, or clear soda.
  • Stop attractive blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin) or aspirin. This reduces your risk of bleeding in case your doctor needs to take a tissue sample or perform surgery.
  • Make sure your doctor knows about any other medications you are taking. Include dietary supplements or vitamins.
  • Ask a friend or family member to drive you and accompany you to the procedure. This will ensure that you get home safely. If you do the procedure without sedation or anesthesia, you can drive home on your own.

Procedure of esophagoscopy

These procedures are performed by the Division of Pediatric General Surgery for diagnosis and treatment. Foreign bodies can be identified and retrieved, abnormal tissue can be identified and removed, mucus plugs blocking the branches of the trachea can be cleared, and areas of narrowing can be identified and dilated. The narrowing can be congenital or it can result from surgery or inflammation.

These procedures are done under general anesthesia, often on an outpatient basis. Esophagoscopy and bronchoscopy are performed with rigid or flexible visors that incorporate viewing ports and instrumentation and intense lighting. Often, the viewing channel is connected to television monitors in the operating room so that the entire team can see.

Images can be saved and printed so the surgeon can show the family what was found and document the findings in the patient’s medical record. Endoscopes are passed through the mouth into the esophagus or windpipe (windpipe). Instruments are passed through the endoscope to grasp tissue or foreign bodies, biopsy tissue, stop bleeding, or suction fluid. Bronchoscopes allow the anesthesiologist to breathe for the patient through the scope while the procedure is being performed.

Esophageal dilation is done to treat the narrowing or stricture of the esophagus. It is performed by passing a series of flexible rubber dilators of increasing size, or by placing a balloon inside the esophagus under fluoroscopic guidance that is then inflated to establish pressure for a specific period of time to stretch the esophagus.

After the procedure

After the procedure, you may experience some irritation in your nose or the back of your throat, but this should go away within 24 hours. After the test, you can eat and resume your normal medications once you are no longer sleepy, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.

Risks of esophagoscopy

Possible side effects are nausea, vomiting, nasal and throat irritation, malaise, and pain. Possible complications from this procedure comprise, but are not limited to: bleeding, infection, or perforation of the esophagus or stomach. These complications, if they occur, may require surgery, hospitalization, and/or transfusion. Other risks that can be serious and possibly fatal include difficulty breathing, heart attack, stroke, or aspiration. These risks are extremely rare but can occur.

Side effects of esophagoscopy

Esophagoscopy can cause side effects such as

  • Sore throat
  • Gas and bloating
  • Cramps

These side effects usually resolve on their own within 24 hours.

Complications of esophagoscopy

Esophagoscopy carries risks associated with sedation or anesthesia in addition to the risk of direct instrumental perforation of the pharynx, esophagus, or stomach. Drug reactions, tracheobronchial aspiration, and hypoxic brain damage are all possible and almost entirely preventable complications related to upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. Instrumental perforation must be completely preventable; sadly, this complication still occurs.

Before flexible endoscopy, the most common perforation sites involved the posterior pharynx in children who were immobilized and examined while awake. Esophagoscopy associated with dilatation of narrow strictures still carries a higher risk of perforation than a purely diagnostic procedure, but there are no reliable figures on the incidence of instrumental perforation for children.

Smooth for a simple diagnosis, the risk of perforation in the presence of severe esophagitis, whether from reflux or caustic ingestion, should be better than in a patient with a non-inflamed esophagus. The predominant use of flexible instruments in recent years is an important factor in reducing and almost eliminating instrumental perforation in children. As extended as a magnified view of the esophageal lumen is maintained throughout the procedure, perforation remains unlikely.

Esophagoscopy is typically performed by a gastroenterologist as an outpatient procedure. The procedure can take between 20 and 30 minutes.

Uses of this procedure

An esophagoscopy may be complete as part of a routine physical examination. It may also be complete if you have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Continuous feeling of lumping in your throat(globus pharyngeus)
  • A long-term cough that won’t go away
  • Long-term heartburn that must go away with changes to your diet or by taking antacids
  • stomach acid touching up the esophagus into the throat (laryngopharyngeal reflux)

An esophagoscopy may be used to:

  • Figure out whatever’s causing abnormal throat, stomach, or intestinal symptoms
  • Take a tissue example (biopsy) for diagnosis of cancer or other conditions, such as dysphagia or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Eliminate any large collection of food (known as a bolus) or foreign object stuck in the esophagus
  • See the confidential of your upper GI tract during surgery

It may also be used with additional GI imaging procedures, such as:

  • Gastroscopy to examine your stomach
  • Enteroscopy to examine your small intestine
  • Colonoscopy to examine your large intestine


In most cases, your doctor will review your test results on the day of the procedure. If a biopsy is required, the test results will be available in 7 to 10 days.

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