What is an oesophagoscopy?

An oesophagoscopy is a procedure used to check for physical abnormalities in the oesophagus (the structure in the throat that carries food to the stomach. The procedure may involve the removal of the foreign body if present.


This procedure may require an anaesthetic.

What are the risks of this specific procedure?

There are risks and complications with this procedure.
They include but are not limited to the following:

General risks:

  • Infection can occur, requiring antibiotics and further treatment.
  • Bleeding could occur and may require a return to the operating room. Bleeding is more common if you have been taking blood thinning drugs such as Warfarin, Asprin, Clopidogrel (Plavix or Iscover) or Dipyridamole (Persantin or Asasantin).
  • Small areas of the lung can collapse, increasing the risk of chest infection. This may need antibiotics and physiotherapy.
  • Increased risk in obese people of wound infection, chest infection, heart and lung complications, and thrombosis.
  • Heart attack or stroke could occur due to the strain on the heart.
  • Blood clot in the leg (DVT) causing pain and swelling. In rare cases, part of the clot may break off and go to the lungs.
  • Death as a result of this procedure is possible.

Specific risks:

  • Injury to the lips, teeth, gums or tongue. Dental injury may result in teeth being chipped, broken or dislodged.
  • Perforation or rupture of the oesophagus. This may lead to a serious infection in the neck or chest which is life threatening. Surgery involving the neck and/or chest is usually required to repair the perforation and treat the infection and a prolonged stay in hospital will be required. This infection, or the surgery required to treat the perforation, may cause injury to the larynx (voice box) or the nerves controlling the larynx resulting in an abnormal voice.
  • Voice change. The larynx (voice box) or the nerves controlling the larynx may be injured by the instruments used for the oesophagoscopy. Voice change may also result from perforation of the oesophagus as outlined above.