How Safe Is An Endoscopy? Procedures and Risks

Most people wonder about the safety of an endoscopy when their physician recommends this procedure. Although an endoscopy is very common, it’s normal to feel reluctant. Gaining knowledge about this procedure can help put your mind at ease.

What Is An Endoscopy?

The endoscopy is a nonsurgical way to examine the digestive system. The doctor passes a device called an endoscope from the mouth to the throat so that he or she can see the esophagus, small intestine, and stomach. Doctors order the test for a variety of reasons, including cancer diagnosis, detection of ulcers, polyps, and internal bleeding. In addition to diagnostics, the gastroenterologist can actually treat some conditions with the endoscopy. Colon polyps may be removed and bleeding can be stopped.

A Safe Gastroenterology Procedure

The endoscopy is considered one of the safest medical procedures and carries a very low level of risk. Last year, the results of a large study involving 20,620 patients—conducted at Technion’s Gastroenterology Unit in Israel—were published at PubMed. The conclusion was that “open-access upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is a safe and effective system.”

While risks are low, your gastroenterologist will review your individual condition before the procedure. Rare complications include perforation, problems with sedation, infection, bleeding, and pancreatitis, though these complications are generally associated with pre-existing conditions. This gastroenterology procedure is normally done as an outpatient procedure, and there is virtually no recovery time needed.

Endoscopy is a vital diagnostic and treatment tool. Patients can have the necessary procedure with confidence knowing that the endoscopy is safe and that complications are rare.