An esophagoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure used to diagnose and treat conditions of the esophagus. This procedure can identify diseases of the esophagus, determine the cause of symptoms, remove growths and swallowed objects or stretch narrowed areas.
An esophagoscopy uses an esophagoscope, which is a thin tube with a light and camera on the end that is fed through the mouth to the esophagus The doctor is able to view the area in real time on a video monitor in order to identify any abnormalities in the area that may be causing difficulty breathing, swallowing or eating.
There are two types of esophagoscopy procedures that may be used depending on the patient's condition.
A flexible esophagoscopy is a diagnostic examination that provides a safe and detailed visual study of the esophagus while the patient is under local anesthesia and sedation. A flexible esophagoscope is inserted into the patient's throat and air is blown into the esophagus for improved visualization. Images of the inside of the digestive tract can be viewed on a monitor.
With a rigid esophagoscopy,a rigid tube or esophagoscope is inserted down the esophagus, while the patient is under general anesthesia. If a foreign object is identified,instruments can be passed through the tube to grasp or manipulate it and remove it from the esophagus.
There is no preparation necessary for this procedure, as there are with many other diagnostic exams. An esophagoscopy takes less than ten minutes and is a generally safe procedure with few rare risks such as bleeding or puncturing of the intestinal wall.
After an esophagoscopy, patients may experience a dry or sore throat or coughing from the procedure. These symptoms usually go away quickly, and can be relieved by drinking plenty of water. There is no recovery period from an esophagoscopy and patients can return to school or work immediately.