Upper GI Endoscopy
Shed Light On Your Symptoms
An upper GI endoscopy can help you identify the cause of your gastrointestinal symptoms.
What Is an Upper GI Endoscopy?
An upper endoscopy is a minimally invasive examination of the upper GI tract, which consists of the esophagus, stomach, and the upper part of the small intestine (duodenum). This procedure is used to evaluate and seek potential causes for abdominal pain, nausea, swallowing problems, stubborn heartburn, suspected ulcers, other forms of inflammation, suspected tumors, as well as to identify and correct bleeding in these areas.
How Do I Prepare for My Procedure?
Prior to your upper endoscopy, your doctor needs to know about any medical conditions you have, including heart and lung conditions, diabetes, pregnancy, or allergies to any medication. If you have a condition that requires antibiotics before surgical procedures, your doctor needs to know. However, it is very seldom that antibiotics are needed before an endoscopy. The stomach must be empty of food, usually for at least 8 hours, and empty of even simple fluid for 2 hours or more before the endoscopy.
How Is the Endoscopy Performed?
A physician and endoscopy staff will perform the procedure. An IV will be started and sedation medication administered before the endoscope is passed into the mouth, down the esophagus, and into the stomach and duodenum. A video camera in the scope transmits real-time, detailed images to a monitor for your doctor to watch and periodically take still photos of any findings. During an upper endoscopy, your doctor may take samples (biopsies) of tissue. Depending on the situation, other procedures might be performed, such as treating causes of bleeding, dilating areas of intestinal narrowing, or the placement of feeding tubes.
What Can I Expect After My Procedure?
The sedation given during the procedure causes drowsiness and impairs your judgment or reaction times, making it unsafe for you to drive or operate machinery the day of the endoscopy. This is why we require someone else to drive you home. You are safe to drive the day after the endoscopy. Food can be resumed as soon as you leave the facility. Make sure to follow the post-procedure instructions you are given.
When Will I Know the Outcome of the Endoscopy?
Doctors can state some of the outcomes of your procedure promptly after the endoscopy. In some cases, a biopsy or small procedure will be done during the test. Other than that, results will come within one week of your procedure.
Where Will the Procedure Take Place and How Long Will It Take?
The upper GI endoscopy will most likely take place in an outpatient endoscopy center or outpatient GI unit of a hospital. It will take about 10 to 30 minutes to conduct the procedure.
What Are the Risks Involved With the Endoscopy?
Risks of an upper GI endoscopy are infrequent and typically minor (nausea, gassy discomfort, sore throat). In rare cases, more serious problems occur, such as bleeding from the site where the doctor took the biopsy or removed a polyp, perforation of the lining of your upper GI tract, or an abnormal reaction to the sedative used, including respiratory or cardiac problems.
What Are My Alternatives to This Procedure?
The most common alternative to an upper endoscopy is an upper GI X-ray examination utilizing barium. This examination requires you to swallow barium (a chalky liquid) before X-rays are taken. Some abnormalities of the upper gastrointestinal tract can be detected by studying these films. However, the procedure is generally recognized as not being as accurate or comprehensive as an upper endoscopy and does not allow for biopsy or removal of tissue.
Schedule your upper endoscopy with a provider by calling the location nearest you.