Upper GI Endoscopy

What is an upper GI endoscopy?

  • This exam is also known as a gastroscopy or a EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy).
  • The exam involves the use of a small, flexible instrument to examine the esophagus, stomach and upper small intestine.
  • It is commonly done as an outpatient procedure, and you will be allowed to go home within an hour of the procedure.
  • The examination is not painful, but sedation is used to prevent gagging during the procedure. Most patients have no recollection of the exam.
  • This examination is extraordinarily safe in the hands of our board-certified gastroenterologists.

Why is an upper GI endoscopy done?

This procedure allows your physician to look for causes of:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficult or painful swallowing
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Weight loss

What can be done during a upper GI endoscopy?

It allows your physician to:

  • Dilate or stretch narrowed areas of the esophagus and stomach
  • Take tissue samples (biopsies) to check for inflammation, infection and cancer
  • Remove growths
  • Remove foreign bodies or food that are stuck in the GI tract
  • Find and treat actively bleeding lesions using medications, cautery or clipping devices

What can I expect on the day of the procedure?

  • The exam typically takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete.
  • You must not eat or drink for six to eight hours before the procedure.
  • No other preparation is required.
  • A small IV will be inserted in your arm to administer the sedative.
  • You must arrange for transportation home, and may not drive for 12 hours following the exam due to the effects of the sedation and slowed reaction times.
  • In addition, a local anesthetic will be sprayed into the back of the throat to further increase your comfort. The effect of this anesthetic lasts an hour, after which you may safely eat and drink.
  • Your physician will be able to immediately discuss the findings of the exam unless tissue samples were sent to the lab, in which case results will not be available for a few days.

Watch a video on how an endoscopy is performed.