Upper GI endoscopy (EGD) is a minimally-invasive, nonsurgical procedure used to examine the digestive tract, including the lining of the esophagus (swallowing tube), stomach, and upper part of the small intestine (duodenum).
The examination is performed using an endoscope, a flexible fiber-optic tube with a tiny TV camera at the end. The camera is connected to an eyepiece for direct viewing or video screen that displays the images on a color TV. The endoscope not only allows the diagnosis of gastrointestinal (GI) disease but treatment as well.
A GI doctor may perform an endoscopy to investigate symptoms of:
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Prolonged nausea and vomiting
- Unexplained weight loss
- Bleeding in the upper GI tract or bowel movements
Moreover, an upper GI endoscopy can be used to identify conditions such as:
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- Narrowing (strictures) or blockages
- Larger than normal veins in the esophagus
- Redness, inflammation, and sores (ulcers)
- Tumors, either cancerous (malignant) or not cancerous (benign)
- Crohn’s disease of the upper GI tract
- Infections of the upper GI tract
Because modern endoscopy has relatively few risks, delivers detailed images, and is quick to carry out, it has proven extremely useful in many areas of medicine. Roughly 75 million endoscopies are performed each year in the United States.
Endoscopy does not require an overnight stay in the hospital and typically takes roughly one hour to complete. Your doctor will provide instructions about the preparation for the procedure.
For many types of endoscopy, you will need to fast for at least six to eight hours. You may be asked to take a laxative, or you may have to drink a special fluid that helps prepare your bowel.
Upon arrival for your test, your doctor will explain the procedure in detail, including possible complications and side effects. The doctor will also answer any questions you may have.
You will be asked about any allergies or general health problems that you may have. You will then be asked to sign a consent form indicating your agreement to proceed with the test.
An IV (intravenous) line will be started in your arm or hand. Most of the time, EGD is performed under conscious sedation. You will be given a combination of intravenous medications, which make you very relaxed and sleepy during the procedure. You may not remember anything about the procedure itself. Because of these medications, you will need a friend or relative to drive you home.
Our full-service outpatient surgery center offers ready access to colorectal and endoscopic procedures, including upper GI endoscopy (EGD).
You will be asked to wear a hospital gown and to remove your eyeglasses and dentures. A local anesthetic (pain-relieving medication) may be applied at the back of your throat, and you’ll be asked to lie on your left side during the procedure.
During an EGD, your gastroenterologist will guide a tiny tube down your throat into your stomach or duodenum. A mouth guard will be placed in your mouth to keep you from biting down on the tube.
You may feel some pressure or swelling as the tube moves along. If needed, samples of fluid or tissue can be taken at any time during the test. Other procedures, such as removing a blockage, may be done while the tube is in place. After the exam and procedures are completed, the tube will be removed.
After an upper GI endoscopy, you can expect the following:
- To stay at the outpatient center for 1 to 2 hours after the procedure so the sedative can wear off
- To rest at home for the rest of the day
- Bloating or nausea for a short time after the procedure
- A sore throat for 1 to 2 days
- To return to your regular diet once your swallowing returns to normal
After the procedure, you—or a friend or family member who is with you—will receive instructions on how to care for yourself when you are home. It is essential to follow all instructions given by your healthcare provider.
Endoscopy is considered a safe procedure. The risks of complications are low, but may include:
- Bleeding from the site where the doctor took the tissue samples or removed a polyp
- Perforation in the lining of your upper GI tract
- An abnormal reaction to the sedative, including breathing or heart problems
You should call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:
- Fever or chills
- Redness, swelling, or bleeding from the IV site
- Belly pain, nausea, or vomiting
- Black, tarry, or bloody stools
- Trouble swallowing
- Throat or chest pain that gets worse
If you have any questions or would like more information about endoscopy, please contact us or call (407) 830-8661.