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Services > Hospital Services > Endoscopy Services > Endoscopy Services FAQs
Endoscopy Services FAQs
I’m having a procedure done. Will I be asleep? Will it hurt?
For most endoscopic procedures, we provide conscious sedation. In other words, you are conscious, but sedated. The main goals of performing an endoscopy include providing optimal patient safety, successfully completing the procedure, and having the patient feel comfortable. Conscious sedation is one factor in helping reach these goals and all of our physicians and nurses are trained in conscious sedation and monitoring of the patient. It is important to inform us if you are sensitive to sedatives, or if you have serious medical conditions (heart, lung, liver, vascular diseases) that might make sedation more dangerous for you. Conscious sedation procedures are generally performed with a pain medication in combination with a sedative medication to control pain while relaxing the patient throughout the procedure.

After the procedure, how soon can I eat, drive and return to work?  
After an upper endoscopy or colonoscopy, you will be encouraged to drink clear liquids. If you feel fine, then you can eat a light meal and progress to a regular diet. You should not drive for 24 hours, as conscious sedation will impair your reactions, and make your driving unsafe. Because conscious sedation can also result in memory impairment, you are discouraged from working or making business decisions for 24 hours after receiving conscious sedation.

How will I breathe if there’s a “light” or endoscope in my throat?  
The endoscope is nine millimeters wide and flexible. In other words, its size is much less than your throat or mouth, so you will be able to breath easily around it. Most patients tolerate the procedure very well with sedation.

I’m coming in for a colonoscopy. Can’t I just take an enema rather than drink the gallon container of preparation?
No – for a good exam of your entire colon, you will need to have your entire colon clean. Enemas only clear out the lowest portion.

What can I do to help drink the gallon of Golytely or Colyte?
Patients sometimes have less difficulty if they use a straw rather than drinking it from the glass. Also, the taste is not as sharp if the liquid is cold. Flavor packages are provided with some of the formulas. Some patients notice that sucking on sugar-free candy between drinks helps.

What’s a clear liquid?
Any liquid that you can see through. Examples include water, tea, soda, Popsicles, apple juice, clear broths, and sports drinks. Black coffee is a clear liquid, while milk is not. Please avoid alcohol.

Why can’t I take aspirin or arthritis pills prior to the procedure?
One of the main complications of an endoscopy is bleeding. Aspirin and arthritis pills inhibit your blood’s ability to clot, and increase your risk for bleeding. Aspirin can have this effect for several weeks, while arthritis medications, including ibuprofen, tend to inhibit clotting for just a few days.

Is the colonoscopy embarrassing?
Our job is successfully completing the procedure, and having the patient feel comfortable. Part of patient comfort is a lack of embarrassment. You can expect to be treated with respect, and have your privacy protected. During the procedure, you will be wearing a gown and sheet in a private exam room with a nurse, a procedure assistant and doctor in attendance. Despite patients’ common fear, patients do not experience incontinence during the procedure. Afterwards, you will have abdominal gas, and in fact, will be encouraged to pass the air before going home. However, keep in mind the air you pass will be room air, without odor.

How do you clean the scopes? Are they safe?
An endoscope must be carefully cleaned and disinfected according to guidelines established by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), the Association for Professionals in Infection Prevention, and the Society for Gastrointestinal Nurses and Associates (SGNA). All of our endoscopes are pre-cleaned immediately after a procedure right in the room, they are then washed down, checked for any leaks, and thoroughly cleaned inside and out prior to placing them into an automatic washer that performs high levels of disinfection through all channels and ports of the scope. We take careful attention to details in the process of cleaning our endoscopes and all staff is trained and competency tested on this process annually. All of our endoscope cleanings are documented and tracked in our computer system for future references. Our endoscopes are checked for preventative maintenance, and we keep the latest up-to-date equipment on the market in our GI Lab.

What organs can you see with the endoscope during these procedures?
During a colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy (FOPS), and upper endoscopy (EGD), the endoscope can visualize only the gastrointestinal (GI or digestive) tract. An EGD visualizes through the esophagus (throat) into the stomach and the upper portion of the small intestine. A colonoscopy visualizes the rectum and the length of the large intestine, a FOPS visualizes only the rectum and lower third portion of the large intestine. We cannot visualize any other organs outside of the GI tract. The endoscope projects the image of the exam onto the TV monitor for direct visualization of the GI tract and he can also take “snapshot” pictures for record documentation of your procedure.