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Endoscopy is a medical procedure that has a name derived from Greek language. The name literally translates as “looking inside," and that is what endoscopy is mostly about. Endoscopy is a diagnostic, and sometimes therapeutic, procedure that is performed to visually investigate the inside of a hollow organ or any other cavity in the body. This article unveils answers to some of the most common questions about endoscopy for children.

How is endoscopy performed?

Endoscopy is performed using an endoscope, which is a thin and long flexible tube that usually has a light source and video camera at one end. The endoscope captures and sends images to the outside of the body, allowing the medical experts to see what is going on inside. Endoscopes are usually inserted into the body through a natural opening (anus, throat or vagina). However, sometimes endoscope is inserted through a small cut that is made on the skin. Endoscopy is considered a minimally invasive procedure, and it is often used even on children. Even though it is relatively safe, parents are often concerned about the risks and pain their child may be experiencing during the endoscopy.

How to prepare for child’s endoscopy?

The most important thing about this procedure is to get well prepared. Both parents and a child should mutually express their concerns and seek support from doctors. Parents should get detailed information about endoscopy and discuss with doctor what they can do to make their child feel more comfortable during the hospital stay. For example, patients may want to surround their child with favorite stuffed toys or other comfort items. A child should also learn more about endoscopy, in the most suitable manner. Parents are often advised to describe things to their child from child’s own point of view. A child will benefit from knowing that doctor needs to put it for sleep for a couple of minutes and that he or she will soon wake up to see their mom and dad.

Are there any risks?

Endoscopy is a relatively new science, but it is not associated with any severe risk of complications. Moreover, it is minimally invasive, very safe, and even the children and infants tolerate this procedure very well, without any serious problems. Some rare complications seen in patients who have had an endoscopy are generally associated with reactions to medicine used for sedation. In rare cases, doctors can make a mistake and create an injury to the esophagus or stomach. If this happens, treatment generally requires surgery, but in some cases, it may even be treated with antibiotics and intravenous fluids.

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