Upper endoscopy refers to a special technique of looking inside the upper portions of the digestive system. Also known as Esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD, this procedure allows your doctor to see inside of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum or beginning of the small intestine. Patients who have symptoms of severe or unexplained heartburn, nausea, vomiting, bleeding, abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing or chest pain may be asked to undergo this procedure to better understand and treat these problems.
Your doctor performs the procedure by using an endoscope. The instrument is a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny video camera and light on the end. By adjusting the various controls on the endoscope, the gastroenterologist can safely guide the instrument and carefully examine the lining of the upper digestive system. Most patients will receive deep sedation by an anesthesia specialist so that you will be asleep and free of discomfort during your procedure.
The high-quality images from the endoscope are shown on a TV monitor and gives your doctor a clear, detailed view of the esophagus, stomach and small intestine. In many cases, upper GI endoscopy is a more precise examination than x-ray studies. In addition, small instruments can be passed through an opening on the endoscope to obtain tissue samples, coagulate (stop) bleeding sites, dilate or stretch a narrowed area, or perform other treatments.
The procedure is very safe and typically takes 15-20 minutes to complete. Complications may occur but are extremely rare. These can include reactions to the anesthesia or injury to the intestinal tract. Our practice performs well over 10,000 procedures annually with a long track record of providing high quality gastrointestinal care at the highest level of safety possible.