Esophagoscopy is an examination of the esophagus or ‘eating tube’ which connects the throat to the stomach. This procedure was traditionally performed with a patient sedated – however technological advances now permit performance of this procedure with a patient awake.
Esophagoscopy is performed for a number of reasons including:
Evaluation of dysphagia or difficulty swallowing
Evaluation of a “lump in the throat” sensation
Evaluation of reflux disease to check for Barrett’s esophagus, or reflux related changes of the esophagus
Panendoscopy, or evaluation of spread of head and neck cancer
Monitoring of prior esophageal surgeries.
Transnasal esophagoscopy is examination through the nose with a patient awake. There is no IV placed, no oxygen used and no need for blood pressure or oxygen monitors.
Lidocaine may be used to numb the nose and throat. An endoscope is then passed through the nose, and behind the voice box into the esophagus.
During examination one normally finds
Movement of the esophageal wall due to pulsations of the aorta
The lower esophageal stricture or muscular tightening separating the esophagus from the stomach
Stomach anatomy, showing normal rugae, or folds of the esophagus.
Should a biopsy need to be performed it can be done so with use of small instruments that are passed through the endoscope.
The entire examination takes less than ten minutes to complete. Patients may experience discomfort in the nose or upper throat – however patients do not typically experience pain. Your physician may ask that you do not eat prior to the procedure, or immediately after.