A perforation injury, which is a tear during upper endoscopy, can result in a hole in the esophagus or stomach. On average, this occurs in less than 1 in every 5,000 to 10,000 procedures.
If any procedures are done after the initial endoscopic exam is finished, or if substantial esophageal or stomach disease is already present, this risk is increased. For example, perforations occur in 1 in 100 balloon dilation procedures during upper endoscopy.
The treatment choices depend upon the size, location, and seriousness of a perforation. Perforations can sometimes be treated with antibiotics and extra days in the hospital. In more serious cases, surgery is necessary to repair the problem and possibly remove the damaged area. Loss of life is also a possibility, however, this is rare.
If a perforation does occur, your doctor will discuss the treatment options and expected outcomes with you.