• Overview

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A therapeutic endoscopy is a procedure to treat a problem with your upper gastrointestinal tract (mouth, oesophagus, stomach and small intestine).

This procedure is sometimes known as a therapeutic gastroscopy or upper GI endoscopy.

Therapeutic endoscopy is sometimes used to treat stomach ulcers or oesophageal bleeding caused by gastroesophageal reflux. This procedure can also be used to treat:

  • Mouth cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Oseophageal stricture
  • Removal of benign (non-cancerous) growths
  • Provide nutrition (feeding tube) for patients unable to eat

What happens during a therapeutic endoscopy?

A therapeutic endoscopy usually takes about 30 minutes. We may offer you a sedative to help you relax, or spray local anaesthetic on the back of your throat meaning this area will be numb throughout the procedure.

A small mouth guard will be placed between your teeth to protect them.

Your consultant will place a flexible tube called an endoscope into the back of your throat and down into your stomach. You may be asked to swallow to help guide the tube. From here the endoscope can pass on into your duodenum. They will be able to treat problems in these organs. The endoscope will not interfere with your breathing but initially you may experience a retching sensation. If you have a lot of saliva, suction similar to that used at the dentist may be used.

Your consultant will also be able to perform biopsies and take photographs to help treat you. When the treatment is complete your consultant will gently remove the endoscope.

After your therapeutic endoscopy

If you were given a sedative, you will normally recover in about an hour. You may feel a bit bloated for a few hours but this will pass. When the local anaesthetic in the back of your throat wears off you can drink and eat normally.

You may develop a sore throat or dry mouth and slight hoarseness following the procedure. Throat lozenges and saltwater gargles can ease these symptoms.

Discuss any return to work with your consultant.

Most people make a good recovery and return to normal activities following a therapeutic endoscopy.

Specific complications of therapeutic endoscopy:

  • Sore throat
  • Allergic reaction to sedative or other medication used
  • Breathing difficulties or heart irregularities
  • Making a hole in the oesophagus, stomach or duodenum
  • Damage to teeth or bridgework
  • Bleeding
  • Incomplete procedure.

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