A panendoscopy, also known as an upper endoscopy, is a visual examination of the oesophagus, stomach, and duodenum (the upper section of the small intestine). 

The procedure is conducted by inserting a long flexible tube fitted with a small light and camera (known as an endoscope) into the body through the mouth. 

Images of the body can be seen on a monitor during the procedure and are recorded for later study if necessary. Biopsies (tissue samples) can also be taken for testing purposes.

How can you prepare for a panendoscopy?

To prepare your gastrointestinal system for the panendoscopy, you’ll need to fast for a minimum of 6 hours. 

This is to ensure your upper gastrointestinal tract remains empty for the endoscope to be inserted into your body and for your doctor to observe your organs and intestines properly. 

Since you’ll be put under sedation during the procedure, you can’t drive for 24 hours after the procedure, so ensure you arrange for someone to drive you home. 

Your healthcare provider will explain the procedure to you and inquire about your medical history, any medications you are currently on, and whether you’re allergic to any substances. 

You may also be asked to sign a consent form that grants permission to do the procedure. Read the form carefully and ask questions if you’re unsure about anything.

Risks associated with the procedure

A panendoscopy procedure is generally considered safe, and the risk of complications arising is low. 

However, some minor complications may include bleeding from the site where the doctor took the biopsy or removed a polyp. This bleeding often stops without treatment.

There can also be a risk of perforation in the lining of your upper GI tract. This is, however, very uncommon. 

You may also experience an abnormal reaction (breathing or heart problems) to the sedative given, but this can be treated with medicines or IV fluids during or after the procedure.

Panendoscopy procedure steps

  • A sedative will be administered through an IV line.
  • Numbing medicine will be sprayed into the back of your throat while you’re lying down on your left side, with your head bent forward. 
  • A mouth guard will be placed in your mouth so that you won’t bite down on the endoscope.
  • An endoscope will be put into your mouth and throat and your doctor will guide it down your oesophagus, through the stomach and into your duodenum.
  • Any procedures such as removing a blockage or taking a biopsy may be done while the tube is in place.
  • Once the exam and procedures are done, the tube will be taken out.
  • You’ll be taken to the recovery room to be observed.
  • Once you’re awake and alert, you can be discharged and taken home.
Panendoscopy procedure

The results of a panendoscopy

Some results from a panendoscopy will be available right away. Your doctor might share these results with you immediately or they may wait to get the results of the biopsies. 

Biopsy results take a few days or longer to come back, as a pathologist has to examine the samples of tissue, cells, or fluids extracted from your body. They will send a report back to your doctor to discuss with you.

Consult a gastrointestinal specialist for a panendoscopy procedure in Sydney

Dr Suhirdan Vivekanandarajah is a leading gastroenterologist and hepatologist based in Sydney. He specialises in diagnosing and treating gastrointestinal conditions

 Schedule a consultation with Dr Suhirdan if you’re experiencing gastrointestinal issues.