Complications of endoscopy

Am J Surg. 2001 Apr;181(4):319-32. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9610(01)00589-x.


Background: Although most gastrointestinal endoscopic procedures are performed by gastroenterologists, surgeons often assist in the management of patients with complications. This review provides an introduction to the incidence, prevention, and treatment of complications that may occur after upper endoscopy, colonoscopy, percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy, and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography.

Methods: Systematic review of the literature.

Results: Preprocedural complications include medication effects and adverse effects of bowel preparation. Major procedural complications consist primarily of perforation and hemorrhage. Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube placement may be complicated by fistula and obstruction. There is also a risk of infectious disease transmission, both to and from the patient.

Conclusions: Endoscopy, like all invasive procedures, carries significant potential risks for the patient. In practiced hands, and with awareness of the problems that may arise, many complications may be avoided and others successfully managed.

MeSH terms

  • Cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic Retrograde / adverse effects
  • Colonoscopy / adverse effects
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal / adverse effects*
  • Gastrostomy / adverse effects
  • Humans