During a transnasal endoscopy, doctors can also perform biopsies while the patient is awake and can communicate.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- When your doctor says he needs to look inside your esophagus and stomach, that usually means deep sedation and a scope down your throat. Now, a new less-daunting option for children is giving relief to parents.
Take Jace Phillips for example. Eating crunchy food didn't agree with 9-year-old.
"I would just throw it up, and I'll start coughing a lot," he said.
Doctors needed to look inside Jace's upper digestive system. Eosinophilic Esophagitis, or EoE, triggered an immune response that inflamed and narrowed the boy's esophagus.
A traditional endoscopy requires several hours of fasting before and hours of recovery after, but the hardest part for Jace was getting sedated.
"Used to take multiple doctors to hold me down so they can stick the IV in my arm," he said.
"I would cry every time he had to go down there, every time they took him back. I was in the waiting room crying," said his mother Tranell Martin.
Now, those days are over for Jace and his mom, thanks to a new procedure offered at Loma Linda University Children's Hospital called transnasal endoscopy.
"We go in up the nose and we first numb the throat and the nose, and one of my ENT colleagues, which is ear, nose and throat, helps navigate the nasal passages with a very slim endoscope," said Pediatric Gastroenterologist and GI Lab Endoscopy Director Dr. Khyati Mehta. "Then I take over going into the esophagus."
Doctors can also perform biopsies while the patient is awake and can communicate.
"For me to be able to be back there with him, supporting him, you know, being able to encourage him. He can get the results. He can see it. He can see everything that's happening," Martin said.
VR goggles and stress balls also help to distract young patients.
"It doesn't hurt at all, and it's just uncomfortable, and it only lasts like 8 minutes," said Jace.
"You can literally just walk out of the office room or the GI lab suite. We don't need sedation. We don't need anesthesia. They don't need to go into the recovery area," said Mehta.
Transnasal endoscopy is also helping doctors figure out how to treat Jace's EoE.
"I think it's really, really great for children to not have to go under anesthesia and for their parents to not be afraid to not take that risk," said Martin.
Kids can usually go back to their normal activities after the one-hour procedure. Loma Linda University Children's Hospital and Children's Hospital Los Angeles are two centers that offer this cutting-edge procedure.