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About endoscopy

An endoscopy is a procedure to examine the inside of your body. A thin telescope with a light and video camera at the end, called an endoscope, is used to do this.

There are different types of endoscopes. The name depends on which part of your body the endoscope will look at. For example, a gastrointestinaI endoscopy (gastroscopy) looks at part of your digestive system, such as your stomach and small bowel.

How can I prepare for my endoscopy?

Your doctor or surgeon will explain how to prepare and what will happen during the procedure. Your hospital may ask you not to eat or drink anything for a set time before it.

When you go for your endoscopy, take a list of any medicines you are currently taking. You may need to arrange to have someone take you home after the procedure.

What happens during my endoscopy?

Before the endoscopy procedure, your doctor will talk you through the process and ask you to sign a consent form.

The procedure is usually performed under local anaesthesia. This will numb the area and completely block any pain. You may be offered a sedative. This will help you to relax and relieve anxiety.

Your doctor may place the endoscope tube through a natural opening in your body. For example, if you're having a gastroscopy, he or she will pass the endoscope down your throat. Alternatively, a surgeon will need to make a cut to pass the endoscope through. For example, if you're having an endoscopy of your knee (arthroscopy), your surgeon will make some cuts in your knee.

Your doctor or surgeon will look inside your body and examine areas of interest. He or she may take pieces of tissue (biopsies) during the procedure. Your doctor or surgeon might treat a problem at the same time.

The procedure usually takes around 30 minutes to an hour but this will depend on the type of endoscopy you have. You should be able to leave that day. However, if you have had a sedative, arrange to have someone take you home. 

Are there any complications or risks of my endoscopy?

As with every procedure, there are complications associated with endoscopy. Speak to your doctor or surgeon for more information.

Complications of endoscopy include bleeding, or an infection in the part of your body the endoscope was used to examine. It's also possible that one of your organs could be pierced or torn.

Recovering from endoscopy 

You should rest after an endoscopy for an hour or so until the effects of the local anaesthetic or sedative wear off. If you had a sedative, don't drive for 24 hours. If you had an arthroscopy, you may need to wait a few weeks. Ask your doctor or surgeon for advice.

Your recovery will depend on the type of endoscopy you had. For example, if you had a gastroscopy, your throat may feel sore for one or two days. If you had an arthroscopy, you may have some swelling for a few days.

How much does endoscopy cost?

For a guide to what you could pay for your treatment, click here.

What to do now

Once you have decided that you would like to be treated at an HCA hospital, or would like further information, here's what to do next:

  1. Call one of our advisors on + 44 (0) 20 7079 4399 or complete our web enquiry form.
  2. Check with your insurance company that your policy covers your treatment, and obtain authorisation.
  3. Visit or call your GP to obtain a referral letter and then call us to make an appointment to visit your chosen consultant and hospital at a time to suit you.
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