All About Endoscopy: Preparation and Procedure

Preparing for endoscopy can make it a more comfortable experience.

The endoscopy staff strives to make patients feel comfortable with endoscopy. Below, find out what to expect before, during and after the procedure.

Checking In
The day before your scheduled procedure, you may receive a phone call or message to discuss time of arrival, your health history and preprocedure instructions. We encourage you to use this time to ask any questions you may have.

When you arrive at the Endoscopy Center, please check in at the desk. Bring an identification card and your insurance card with you. At this time you can update your personal information with the registration clerk. You will be given a copy of our privacy notice and asked if you are interested in obtaining information on an advance health care directive. You may be asked questions about your health history, if it was not done during the phone interview. 

During your visit you will be asked to sign several forms including:

  • Health information disclosure form (to designate someone to receive information about the procedure and home care instructions)
  • Procedure consent form (to allow the physician to do the procedure)
  • Statement form that declares the designated person for your home care instructions, the date and time you last ate solid food and ingested liquid and the permission to be admitted to the hospital (in the unlikely event of unforeseen circumstances)

Though you may have filled out these forms at a previous time, you will be asked to complete them the day of the procedure. Once the forms are completed, you will be given an identification band and a patient gown. You will be attached to a monitor to check your blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen status. An intravenous line (IV) will be placed in your arm to deliver medications for comfort during your procedure.

Pain Level
In order to understand your comfort level, you will be asked about your level of pain, rating it on a scale from 0-10 (0 being no pain and 10 being the worst). You will be asked several times throughout your stay about your pain level.

Family Members
We ask that family members and accompanying visitors wait in the lobby for the privacy of all our scheduled guests.

After the Procedure
You will be brought to the holding area where we will continue to monitor your blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen status. You are encouraged to rest. You may have the urge to belch or pass gas. This is because air used to inflate your stomach and/or colon may remain trapped in areas where the scope could not remove it. This is normal, and you are encouraged to pass the air. For those who have had the upper endoscopy, your throat may be sore. 

You will be in the holding area for at least an hour, depending on your vital signs and level of wakefulness. You might have the sensation of feeling "foggy in the head" because of the effects of the medication. This is fairly normal, and will resolve in four to six hours. You should not feel light-headed or dizzy.

If allowed by your physician, you may be given some nourishment prior to leaving. When you are able to eat, we do encourage you to make your first meal a light one. For those who have had the upper endoscopy, your throat may be sore. 

You will not be allowed to drive home because of the effects of the medication. You should be able to walk out of the department with your escort, but we do have wheelchairs available if you need one.

If you’ve indicated a designated person to receive information about the results of your procedure, the physician may speak to that person and briefly discuss home care instructions. You may not remember the physician speaking with you, because of the effects of the medication. The nurse will go over the written instructions with the designated person and a copy of these instructions will be sent home with you. You will be asked for permission to call you the next day so that we may follow-up on your care. If you experience any problems related to your procedure once you are home, please call your physician immediately. These symptoms may include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting or any unusual pain or problems.

Find a San Diego Gastroenterologist
To find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego gastroenterologist or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday 8 am to 6 pm.

The above information has been prepared by the Sharp Memorial Outpatient Pavilion team for patients in their unit. Preparation and discharge may vary depending on location.