Esophagoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that is typically performed in the operating room under general anesthesia. A lighted telescope (esophagoscope) is used to examine the esophagus, which is the tube that connects your throat to your stomach and allows for the passage of food. This procedure may be recommended for several reasons, such as difficulty swallowing, pain with swallowing, or if something is impacted in the esophagus.
During the esophagoscopy, your doctor has the ability to perform various interventions, such as biopsy (if there is a visible mass or irregularity) or dilation (stretching out a narrow segment). Sometimes food boluses or foreign objects accidentally get ‘stuck’ in the esophagus (see figures below). As one might expect, ingestion of foreign bodies like coins tends to happen in young children who explore the world through their mouths. However, older patients or those with an underlying swallowing disorder are also prone to food impactions.
Your physician at Suburban Ear, Nose, and Throat can remove the impacted foreign body with special tools designed for this purpose. These tools, along with the esophagoscope, are inserted through the mouth in order to avoid creation of an external incision to remove the foreign body. Esophagoscopy is most often performed as an outpatient procedure.