Upper Endoscopy

Upper Endoscopy

An upper endoscopy is a procedure used to visually examine the upper part of the digestive system with a tiny camera on the end of a long, flexible tube. This test is important because it allows the doctor to see any problems in the esophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine.

What Is An Upper Endoscopy?

Upper endoscopy is a diagnostic procedure used to examine the upper gastrointestinal tract. The procedure is also known as esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD). During an upper endoscopy, a long, flexible tube with a light and camera attached is passed through the mouth and down the esophagus. The camera allows the doctor to see the inside of the upper GI tract, including the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). Upper endoscopy is used to diagnose a variety of conditions, including GERD, ulcers, and inflammation. The procedure can also be used to take biopsies (samples of tissue) or to treat certain conditions, such as bleeding ulcers. Upper endoscopy is generally a safe and welltolerated procedure. Complications are rare, but can include bleeding, perforation (a hole in the GI tract), and infection.

Who may need an Upper Endoscopy?

An upper endoscopy may be recommended for people who have unexplained gastrointestinal bleeding, persistent abdominal pain, or are at risk for gastrointestinal cancer. The procedure is also used to diagnose and treat conditions such as ulcers, hiatal hernias, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Upper endoscopies are generally safe and have a low risk for complications. The most common complication is abdominal pain, which usually goes away within a day or two. In rare cases, more serious complications, such as bleeding or perforation, can occur. If you have any of these symptoms, or are at risk for gastrointestinal cancer, contact your doctor to discuss whether an upper endoscopy is right for you.

Why Do Providers Perform Upper Endoscopies?

A doctor can use an upper endoscopy to directly observe the upper digestive system and take tissue samples (biopsies). This method is often more accurate than X-rays in diagnosing problems in the upper digestive system. A provider may perform an upper endoscopy to diagnose and/or treat a variety of conditions, such as:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Ulcers
  • Cancer
  • Inflammation

An upper endoscopy is generally a safe and effective procedure. Complications are rare, but can include bleeding, perforation, and infection.

What Is An Upper Endoscopy Used To Treat?

Healthcare providers can also use endoscopes to carry out treatments. Upper Endoscopy may be used by your doctor to:

  • Control bleeding in the upper digestive tract.
  • Stretch out narrowed digestive tracts.
  • Remove polyps, tumors or swallowed objects.

What Should I Expect Before An Upper Endoscopy?

An upper endoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure used to examine the upper digestive tract. The procedure is typically performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning the patient does not need to stay overnight in the hospital. Prior to the procedure, the patient will likely be asked to fast for several hours and to avoid eating or drinking anything for at least six hours before the procedure. The patient may also be asked to take a laxative to clean out the digestive tract.

How Do You Perform An Upper Endoscopy?

During the procedure, the patient will be asked to lie on their back on an examination table. A sedative will be given through an IV line to help the patient relax. The endoscope, a long, thin, flexible tube with a light and camera attached, will be inserted through the mouth and down the throat. The camera will allow the doctor to get a clear view of the upper digestive tract. If necessary, biopsies or other treatments can be performed through the endoscope.

What Should I Expect After An Upper Endoscopy?

After the procedure, the patient will be taken to a recovery area where they will be monitored for any adverse reactions to the sedative. The average person spends around four hours at the hospital or outpatient center for an upper endoscopy. This includes the time it takes to check in, have the procedure, and recover from sedation. The procedure itself only takes about 10 to 15 minutes. The recovery time will depend on how long the person was sedated. For most people, it takes about an hour to feel normal again. Once the sedative has worn off, the patient will be able to go home. It is important to have someone else drive the patient home as the sedative can cause drowsiness. The patient should avoid eating or drinking for at least two hours after the procedure to allow the throat time to heal.

What Are Risks Related To Getting An Upper Endoscopy?

While the procedure is generally safe, there are a few risks related to upper endoscopy. These risks include:

  • Perforation: There is a very small risk that the endoscope may cause a hole in the digestive tract. This is more likely to occur if the procedure is being performed on someone who has a pre-existing condition, such as Crohn’s disease.
  • Bleeding: There is also a small risk of bleeding, either from the site where the biopsy was taken or from a tear in the lining of the digestive tract.
  • Infection: There is a very small risk of infection, although this is more likely to occur if the endoscope is not properly sterilized.

Overall, the risks associated with upper endoscopy are very small. The procedure is generally safe and is an effective way to diagnose and treat a variety of digestive disorders.

How Long Does It Take To Receive Test Results?

The diagnostic findings may be shared with you by your doctor immediately. Receiving the results from an upper endoscopy biopsy can take a few days to a week. The results from the endoscopy will be sent to the doctor who will then go over them with the patient.

    Most of the information on this page can be found at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/4957-upper-endoscopy-procedure