Also known as an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) or simply an endoscopy, an upper endoscopy is used to check the upper part of the digestive system—i.e. the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (first part of the small intestine). A long tube is used featuring a tiny camera on the end that produces an image on a monitor in the exam room. The doctor will guide the tube through the upper digestive system to check for problems in the area. In some cases, instruments may be used to provide treatment or remove foreign objects from the stomach, intestine, or other parts of the upper digestive system.
An EGD is a versatile procedure with diagnostic, exploratory, and treatment capabilities. The physician may recommend such a procedure to screen for or diagnose medical conditions and diseases of the digestive system like diarrhea, bleeding, inflammation, anemia, and cancer. Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding, and abdominal pain may require an EGD to determine the cause. Individuals who experience difficulty swallowing may also be encouraged to undergo an upper endoscopy to determine the cause of such difficulty.
Your vital signs—blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, etc.—will be monitored during the procedure, and a sedative may be used to relax and relieve discomfort. Some require an anesthetic—such as one that is sprayed into the mouth—to further relieve discomfort. The tube, called an endoscope, is inserted through the mouth and down the throat. A device may be used to help you keep your mouth open during the procedure. You should not feel pain, although there may be some discomfort as the tube is inserted down the throat and esophagus and into the stomach. Air may be pumped into the esophagus to allow the tube to move more easily throughout the upper digestive system.
If it is necessary to remove a sample of tissue for a biopsy or to remove a polyp, special instruments will be inserted through the endoscope. Tools may also be used to remove an object that may become stuck inside of the digestive tract. Most procedures take up to half an hour, although this varies depending on the purpose of the upper endoscopy and whether anything must be removed. You may be required to rest for an hour as the sedative wears off, and somebody has to drive you home. You will also be advised to take the rest of the day off. Bloating, gas, sore throat, and cramping are not uncommon following the treatment.
The physician will notify you of the results of the procedure either the day of the exam—if visually checking for certain signs or symptoms—or in the days following the procedure if a biopsy was taken and sent to a lab for testing and evaluation. You may be required to return to our location so the physician may deliver the results in person no matter the results and prognosis. For more information, call to set up a consultation with the doctor.