During an upper endoscopy, a digestive tract specialist (gastroenterologist) uses a scope to view the inside of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (upper part of the small intestine). Doctors use the procedure to diagnose and treat acid reflux, stomach ulcers, celiac disease, gastrointestinal disorders, and other digestive tract problems.
A procedure called an upper endoscopy is used to look inside the upper digestive tract. The procedure is also called an esophagogastroduodenoscopy, or EGD.
A gastrointestinal (GI) doctor (gastroenterologist) uses an endoscope. The scope is a narrow, flexible tube with a light and small video camera. Through the scope, your doctor can view the inside lining of you’re
- The tube that connects your mouth to your stomach is called the esophagus
- Stomach: The container for food and the site where digestion begins.
- Your small intestine’s upper portion is called the duodenum.
What are the risks of an upper G.I. endoscopy?
Upper GI endoscopy is considered a safe procedure. The risks of complications from an upper GI endoscopy 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
Bleeding caused by the procedure often is minor and stops without treatment. Serious complications such as perforation are uncommon. Your doctor may need to perform surgery to treat some complications. Your doctor can also treat an abnormal reaction to a sedative with medicines or IV fluids during or after the procedure
Who might need an upper endoscopy?
In the event that you experience unexplained
- Abdominal pain.
- Upper digestive tract bleeding.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Swallowing problems.
- Weight loss.
Why do healthcare providers perform upper endoscopies?
An upper endoscopy allows for a direct view and biopsies. It can be more accurate than X-rays in diagnosing problems in the upper digestive system. These problems include
- Acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD) and heartburn.
- Cancerous and noncancerous tumors.
- Inflammation, such as esophagitis, gastritis, is, and duodenitis.
- Gastrointestinal disorders, such as celiac disease and Crohn’s disease.
- Stomach (peptic) ulcers.
- Swallowing disorders.
How is an upper endoscopy performed?
Endoscopy is typically a lower endoscopy procedure, meaning you go home the same day. The procedure may be uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be painful. You’ll receive an intravenous sedative or another form of anesthesia. After the procedure, you should have a ride home.
You lie on your left side during the procedure, which takes about 30 minutes. Your doctor
- Administers a numbing spray to your throat and inserts a mouth guard to protect your teeth.
- Guides the endoscope through your mouth and down into the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum.
- Pumps air into the stomach and duodenum through the endoscope to make organs easier to see
- Views images from the endoscope on a video monitor while looking for problems or performing treatments.
- Removes small pieces of tissue to biopsy (examine in a lab), if necessary.
- Performs treatments, if needed.
What should I expect after upper endoscopy?
You’ll spend some time recovering while the sedative wears off before going home. An upper endoscopy procedure can irritate your throat. You may be hoarse or have a cough for a few days. You can eat soft foods, drink ice water, and use throat lozenges until the soreness subsides.
After the procedure, you may experience some bloating (a swollen feeling from the pumped-in air) and nausea (an anesthesia side effect). With your doctor’s approval, you should be able to resume your usual activities, including working and driving, the next day.
When you receive the results of your endoscopy test will depend on your situation. If, for instance, the endoscopy was performed to look for an ulcer, you may learn the findings right after your procedure. If a tissue sample (biopsy) was collected, you may need to wait a few days to get results from the testing laboratory. Ask your provider when you can expect the results of your endoscopy.