Transnasal Esophagoscopy, TNE is a safe, inexpensive and quick way to examine the esophagus in patients with a history of reflux and at risk for esophageal cancer. TNE does not require sedation, and it is done in the office using local anesthesia. A flexible tube is placed through the nose and behind the voice box into the esophagus. It is well-tolerated, has fewer complications, than an EGD and is a great screening tool for esophageal cancer and Barrett’s Esophagus, pre-cancer of the esophagus.
I have performed TNEs for nearly 20 years. I decongest and anesthetize your nose with topical Afrin and lidocaine. You breathe in a lidocaine nebulizer to numb your airway and back of the throat.
The procedure typically takes less than two minutes to evaluate the esophagus and stomach. Eighty percent of patients with LPR or silent reflux have a normal exam. If I find an abnormality, I always refer to a gastroenterologist for biopsies under anesthesia.
TNE is a life-saving exam that is easily performed. Patients come to the office on an empty stomach. They do not need a driver and can immediately return to work after the procedure. Due to numbing of the throat patients will need to wait approximately 30 minutes before eating.
TNE does not replace a formal endoscopy and biopsy of the stomach. However, it is a safe and inexpensive way to examine the stomach that permits patients to avoid general anesthesia, the cost of an outpatient facility fee, needing a driver and missing a day of work.