I've had both an EGD an colonoscopy done while unconscious, it was done with propofol via IV. I was knocked out and never knew a thing until it was over. Given that they discovered I had a twisted colon during the colonoscopy, I'm glad I was out cold for it. My GI doc prefers to do the procedures using propofol, the stuff wears off quick afterward, so you don't have a long recovery from sedation.
I have had an 2 EGDs, 1 colonoscopy, and a small bowel enteroscopy which is a more extensive EGD that goes further down all the way to the end of the jejunum and all of them but one were done while completely unconscious. Honestly you want to be unconscious if not you will gag and other stuff and you will freak out. I was told do not look around the room in the procedure room, but honestly I dont think its that big of a deal you may question the tube but you wont ever know anything about it if you are asleep.
Most endoscopy (colonoscopy and EGD) is done with conscious sedation; generally with an amnesia drug (Versed) and some painkiller. You are actually quite awake, but the Versed blunts or eliminates your memory of the procedure. Propofol produces deeper sedation, requires an anesthesia person and usually costs more. Most people think that they "were asleep" when actuallt they weren't, they were just given a drug to make them forget, although with propofol a lot of people are pretty deeply sedated. I had a terrible experience with sedation (and so do a fair number of people) so I found a doc to do my recent colonoscopy without sedation; it was easy and is a better safer exam; you won't get your colon accidently perforated if you are unsedated. Most docs discourage unsedated exams because they take longer and leave your memory intact; basically it's easier to drug the patient than to take the time to do an unsedated exam. I'm in the minority as far as unsedated colonoscopy; the versed/fentanyl (the usual drugs) are generally o.k., propofol is almost always perceived as great. I have asked a lot of docs about colonoscopy sedation and all have said that they had propofol or did it unsedated (the "secret" option)' non said that they would get versed/fentany-they see way too many patients with haunting amnesia or who have other pretty severe drug-related problems...That's my opinion of colonoscopy. Now I need an EGD; my doc said that she will try it unsedated; I'm going to do it unsedated or skip it.
Endoscopy is safe, but almost all of the risk (drug effects or perforation) is caused by the sedation. Most docs insist on sedation; but if you schedule the exam and show up prepped and tell them no sedation (don't sign the consent) most will obey your wishes. I am not advocating doing these tests unsedated; I just think that patients should have a choice. I had a terrible sedation experience; my gastro is a friend and let me watch an upper and lower one with propofol and one with versed; the propofol patient just squirmed but the versed patient looked like they were being killed. It was awful to watch; but immediately afterwards neither remembered much, but they knew something bad had happened. A week later, I spoke with the versed patient (a co-worker) and he said that the experience was awful. The negative comments about versed are true; after watching a patient get versed, I would never consent to that drug. My unsedated colonoscopy was easy, but if you are delaying getting the test because of anxiety, spend the extra money and get propofol if you can't tolerate a few seconds of gas pains from an unsedated exam.
Unsedated exams are quite possible, easy and much safer than sedation. The docs will never recommend them because the unsedated exam takes a few extra minutes to perform adn they have to be careful because you are awake and aware. A sedated patient can't complain of pain so they can do the exam quickly and roughly; the sedation gets the patient out the door with temporary amnesia.......lousy treatment IMHO.