Anesthesia is a procedure that maintains an appropriate state of unconsciousness during the examination. This way, it can be performed without pain or discomfort. It consists of the administration of certain medications (usually Propofol) through an intravenous cannula. It is very light anesthesia and lasts only for a short time, therefore has very low risk with minimal unpleasant side effects.
Who performs the anesthesia?
It is always performed by a specialist in anesthesia that is specifically trained in the administration of the medications for sedation, as well as controlling the functions of the lungs, heart and central nervous system during the procedure. They also specialize in monitoring and controlling any other co-existing conditions or diseases that might interfere with the anesthesia or the endoscopy.
How is it carried out?
Prior to the endoscopy, the anesthesiologist will interview you regarding your health in general. The aim is to determine whether there are any pre-existing illnesses that might cause complications during the procedure. Also they will need to know if you suffer from any food or medication allergies and what, if any, medications you take. Also they will want to know if there have been any problems with prior anesthesia.
During the procedure, you will be carefully monitored. This means that your breathing, level of oxygen, global functions of the heart, blood pressure and circulation will be controlled. This is done under the constant supervision by the specialist in anesthesia, and assisted by monitoring devices such as an oxymeter, blood pressure cuff and a continuous electrocardiogram.
If you suffer from diabetes, they will also control the glucose levels in your blood.
If you suffer any other illnesses, they will also be monitored appropriately.
It is very important that you neither eat solid food nor drink milk during the 6 hours prior to the procedure and that you do not drink anything, including water, during the 4 hours before the examination.
It is also important that you bring all your medical history, reports, analyses, results of other studies, etc. as well as a list with the names and doses of all the medications that you usually take or that you have taken recently.
You will sleep comfortably during the procedure and will wake up 5 to 10 minutes after it is completed. As it is only a light sedation, there is usually no drowsiness or light-headedness commonly associated with traditional anesthesia.
However, your reflexes will not be the same as usual, and you must not drive nor perform dangerous activities for the 24 hours following the anesthesia.
What happens once the anesthesia is over?
You will be able to go home once the examination is completed, but you must be accompanied by an adult.
Once you are home, you will be able to begin taking some liquids and food approximately one hour after the procedure. Begin slowly and start with only taking a half a glass of water. You should watch for an upset stomach and problems with nausea or vomiting.