How Long After Endoscopy Can You Drive (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Eight Hours

Endoscopy is an invasive procedure performed on a patient to examine the inner lining of his or her upper GI tract. This includes the parts of the body’s esophagus and stomach along with the duodenum. This medical procedure is also known by another term- esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EDG.

The procedure involves the doctor threading the mouth and the throat of a patient with the help of a flexible and thin tube. The tube is fixed with an internal camera that helps get a clear picture of the inner lining of the upper gastrointestinal tract. The tube is then guided through the esophagus and the stomach, finally reaching the first segment of the duodenum. 

How Long After Endoscopy Can You Drive?

The post-procedure care protocols for endoscopy may vary from one patient to another. However, there are certain invariable norms that all patients must adhere to when undergoing endoscopy. Thus, there are rules about the kind of food consumed both before and after the procedure. The time frames allocated for such consumption are also quite rigidly fixed. The most critical determinant for moving is based on the kind of sedative used for the procedure. Therefore, if a numbing throat spray is used on the patient before the endoscopy, he or she will not be allowed to move the body for at least forty-five minutes after the procedure is completed.

Alternatively, if an individual undergoes the endoscopy without using the throat spray, the patient can move and talk right after the procedure. No restrictions are placed on the individual in such a scenario. The thumb rule with the endoscopy procedure remains that the patient can start everyday work as soon as the discomfort from the procedure is over. However, the doctors conducting the endoscopy procedure usually specify that the patient must ensure that not much stress is put on the body.

Type Of Sedative UsedTime After Endoscopy To Drive
Throat Spray is usedAfter one day
Throat Spray is not usedAfter eight hours

It is not advised to opt for driving immediately after the endoscopy process. If throat spray is used in the process, driving is prohibited for one day. In contrast, if throat spray is not used, the patient can resume driving after eight hours.

RECOMMENDED
How Long Should a Person Use a Heating Pad (And Why?)

Why Does It Takes That Long After Endoscopy To Drive?

Endoscopies are pretty traumatic for the food pipe. Doctors generally prescribe that patients undergoing an endoscopy must refrain from using their food pipe for a specific period because the procedure itself is pretty strenuous. Threading a thin tube with a camera into the upper gastrointestinal tract is undoubtedly invasive. The stress and strain of the procedure can heighten our gag reflexes.

Similarly, when the throat numbing spray is used, it helps relax the muscles lining the esophagus. This helps smoothly thread the tube. However, the muscles may remain numb after the procedure is over. Thus, putting pressure right after will be hazardous as the esophagus will not perform its usual function of passing the food bolus correctly down the food pipe. When the throat spray is not used, theoretically, patients can talk right after the endoscopy. However, in reality, they remain groggy and uncomfortable. Thus, they usually refrain from performing any activity involving a lot of movement for quite some time.

It takes that long after endoscopy to drive because of the sedatives that are used in the process. The patient might not be in their senses and can lose concentration while driving. However, the resumption of driving is discouraged right after the endoscopy procedure as the inner muscles take time to relax and get back to their normal functionality levels.

Conclusion

Overall, it can be concluded that endoscopy is a relatively simple medical procedure used to check the inner lining of the upper gastrointestinal tract. However, much like other medical procedures, there are certain risks associated with endoscopy.

On average, patients are not allowed to drive for a minimum of eight hours after the procedure if no throat spray is used. In contrast, if a spray is used, then driving is prohibited for one day. It is not recommended to put a lot of pressure on the food pipe or the neck area after the surgery, as it can be painful for the patient. In case of any medical emergency, it is advised to consult a medical expert immediately.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S014067367491770X
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016510700700903
x
How Long After Protein Shake To Eat Meal video