An endoscopy is a procedure where the inside of your body is examined internally using an endoscope.
About the Department
Our department is based in the New PFI Building of Broomfield Hospital.
The location is destination A301 (third floor of PFI) on the way finding system.
Take the lift from the Atrium Reception Area to the 3rd floor, turn right on your exit, and go through the double door towards Day Theatre Reception.
Turn left and walk down the corridor until you reach the Endoscopy double doors, where you will be asked to buzz the reception, and then take a seat just inside these doors.
How an endoscopy is performed
An endoscopy is usually carried out while a person is awake. It is not painful, but can be uncomfortable so a local anaesthetic or a mild sedative (conscious sedation - medication that has a calming effect) may be given to help you relax.
The endoscope is carefully inserted into your body. Exactly where it enters your body will depend on the part of the body being examined.
An endoscopy can take 15-60 minutes to carry out, depending on what it's being used for. It will usually be performed on an outpatient basis, which means you will not have to stay in hospital overnight.
Before having an endoscopy
Depending on what part of your body is being examined, you may be asked to avoid eating and drinking for several hours beforehand.
If you are having a colonoscopy or flexi-sigmoidoscopy you may also be given a laxative to help clear stools from your bowels.
In some cases, you may also require antibiotics to reduce risk of an infection.
If you are taking a medicine to thin your blood, such as warfarin, you may be asked to stop taking it for a few days before having your endoscopy. This is to prevent excessive bleeding during the procedure. However, do not stop taking any prescribed medicine unless your GP or specialist advises you to do so.
The endoscopy procedure
An endoscopy is not usually painful, although it may feel uncomfortable.
Endoscopies do not usually require general anaesthetic. However, you may be given a local anaesthetic to numb a specific area of your body. This may be in the form of a spray or lozenge to numb your throat, for example.
You may also be offered a sedative which makes you feel more relaxed and less aware of what is going on around you.
The endoscope is carefully guided into your body. Exactly where it enters will depend on the part of your body being examined. This may include your:
- Anus (the opening through which stools are passed out of the body)
In some cases, the endoscope will be inserted via a stoma from previous bowel surgery.
An endoscope is a thin, long, flexible tube that has a light source and a video camera at one end. Images of the inside of your body are relayed to a television screen. Endoscopes can be inserted into the body through a natural opening, such as through your throat or anus (the opening through which stools are passed out of the body).Alternatively, it can be inserted through a stoma (patients with previous complex bowel surgery may have one).
Is having an endoscopy painful?
In the majority of cases the answer is no.
Most people will only experience some mild discomfort similar to indigestion or having a sore throat.
If you are worried then you should discuss your concerns with staff of the hospital or clinic. They may recommend that you are sedated so you are more relaxed during the procedure.
Types of endoscopes
Types of endoscope include:
- endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) used to treat gallstones
- bronchoscopes, used to examine your airways and lungs
- colonoscopes, used to examine your large intestine (colon)
- Gastroscopes, used to examine the stomach
- Endoscopic Ultrasound Scope (EUS) used to examine your oesophageal and stomach linings as well as the walls of your upper and lower gastrointestinal tract.
An endoscopy can be used to investigate if symptoms suggest there might be a problem. It can also be used to help perform some types of keyhole surgery (laparoscopic surgery) such as removing the appendix or gallbladder. These types of surgery are not undertaken within the Endoscopy Department, but in General Theatres.
The diagram shows an endoscopy looking at the food pipe (oesophagus) and stomach.
An endoscopy is used to investigate unusual symptoms and to help perform types of surgery.
An endoscopy might be recommended to investigate the following symptoms:
- difficulties swallowing or pain when swallowing (dysphagia/odynophagia)
- persistent abdominal pain
- persistent nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting
- unexplained weight loss
- vomiting blood
- persistent diarrhoea
- bleeding from the anus
These types of symptoms are usually investigated with a gastroscopy (used to examine the upper section of the digestive system) or a colonoscopy (used to examine the bowel).
An endoscope can also be used to remove a small sample of tissue so it can be checked for cancer cells. This is known as a biopsy.
Modified endoscopes that have surgical instruments attached to them or passed through them can be used to carry out certain surgical procedures. For example, they may be used to:
- remove gallstones, bladder stones and /or kidney stones
- repair a bleeding stomach ulcer
- remove small tumours from the lungs or digestive system
A type of endoscope called a laparoscope is used by surgeons as a visual aid when carrying out keyhole surgery (also known as laparoscopic surgery). This means only small cuts are made so there is less post-operative pain and a faster recovery time compared to traditional open surgery. Common types of keyhole surgery include:
- removal of an inflamed appendix in cases of appendicitis
- removing the gallbladder, which is often used to treat gallstones
- removing a section of the intestine, which is often used to treat digestive conditions, such as Crohn’s disease or diverticulitis, that do not respond to medication
- repairing hernias
- removing some or all of an organ affected by cancer
After an endoscopy
After having an endoscopy, you will probably need to rest for about an hour until the effects of the local anaesthetic and/or the sedative have worn off. You should not drive immediately after the procedure, so you will need to arrange transport to take you home.
An endoscopy is usually safe and the risk of complications is low (less than 1 in 100).
Possible complications include:
- an infection in part of the body the endoscope is used to examine
- piercing or tearing (perforation) of an organ
- excessive bleeding
- an allergic reaction to the anaesthetic
Infections can usually be successfully treated with antibiotics.
Perforation of an organ or excessive bleeding may require surgery to repair damage to the tissues or organ. This is a rare complication; however it can lead to death.
Antihistamines are a type of medicine that can be used in the event of an allergic reaction.
A number of other signs could indicate a complication after having an endoscopy. These include:
- black or very dark coloured stools
- shortness of breath
- severe and persistent abdominal pain
- vomiting blood
- chest pain
- a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
Contact your GP or visit the accident and emergency (A&E) department of your local hospital immediately if you notice any of these signs and symptoms.
Our endoscopy Unit is JAG Accredited (National Accreditation Body), and all our Consultants and clinical endoscopists are JAG accredited. As part of developing the next generation of Consultants and clinical endoscopists, we regularly undertake endoscopy training. There is a reasonable chance your endoscopy will be performed by a trainee.
A trainee is still a fully qualified, GMC registered doctor or NMC registered nurse, who is increasing their skill set. Any training undertaken is under direct supervision of a Consultant, with the trainee having already been on a training course using a combination of computer simulation and various other training methods, prior to performing endoscopy on patients. If, at any time, the supervising consultant has any doubt, they will take over the procedure.
If you have any questions about a trainee performing your procedure, please mention this when admitted for your procedure, so that we may talk to you further about this.
How to refer to us / Contact us
Main Contact Numbers:
Phone: 01245 5142580 / 01245 514387
Fax: 01245 514625
Referrals are accepted from hospital Consultants. Our local catchment area is for Mid-Essex, but we do accept tertiary referrals from other areas, if agreed by the CCG.
All in-patient referrals should be completed on the Lorenzo system.
If you wish to refer as an emergency, or are unsure whether a referral should be seen urgently, please contact the on-call emergency team via our switchboard: 01245 362000
Two Week wait referrals:
Two week wait referrals are currently send direct to the MDT office – fax 01245 514280, however from October 2018 these referrals will only be accepted electronically.
Dr Chirag Oza
Dr Webster Mr Pearson
Dr Radzioch Dr Dhana
Dr Shah Mr.Siddiqi
Dr Oza Ms Conn
Mr Hammond Mr Richardson
Mr Tang Mr Jayanthi
Mr Lorenzi Dr.Jenkins (Resp)
Dr.Hattatowa (Resp) Mr Siriwardhana (Capsule Endoscopy)
Dr.Lawson (Resp) Dr.Pratt (ERCP/ EUS)
Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS)/Non-medical Nurse endoscopists:
CE Abraham CE Mackenzie