Esophagoscopy is an evaluation that allows your doctor to look into the esophagus, which is the tube that connects the throat to the stomach. The purpose of an esophagoscopy is to evaluate the esophagus for tumors, area of narrowing, and to remove foreign bodies or lodged food. This can be performed both in the operating room under anesthesia, but in some cases can be performed with the patient awake in their doctor’s office. This is called transnasal esophagoscopy, or TNE.
The TNE is performed with a small, flexible scope inserted through the nose, throat, and into the esophagus. The patient’s nose is numbed with topical anesthetic and spray prior to the procedure. During the TNE procedure, your doctor can evaluate your entire esophagus and take biopsies if needed. There are several benefits to doing the procedure in the office while you are awake including cost savings and avoiding the risks of anesthesia. The TNE has similar effectiveness as traditional sedated esophagoscopy. Complications of TNE are uncommon and include mild soreness in the nose and throat, a nose bleed, and inability for the doctor to fully insert the scope. Severe complications are extremely rare. A TNE is generally well-tolerated by patients, but you may not be a candidate if you have severe heart or lung problems.
There is little preparation required for the procedure. You should not eat for at least 2-3 hours prior to the TNE, and you should wait until about 1 hour after the procedure to eat and drink. While rare, if you experience chest pain, increased heart rate, fever, worsening swallowing problems, or bleeding you should call your doctor immediately to report these problems.