Digestive Diseases - Gastroenterology

Upper Endoscopy

An upper endoscopy is routine procedure to examine the lining of the upper part of your gastrointestinal tract. Also known as esophago-gastro-duodenoscopy (EGD), it examines the esophagus, stomach, and the beginning part of your small intestines (duodenum).

To perform an EGD, your doctor uses a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope, which has its own lens and light source. It shows images on a video monitor so your doctor is able to see any inflammation, bleeding ulcers, or tumors. During the procedure, your doctor may passed through the endoscope to get a better look at the gastrointestinal (GI) tract or to remove any suspicious growths or polyps. Any tissue or polyps removed will be sent to a laboratory for analysis.

There are various reasons that you may need an EGD, such as:

  • Abnormal or unclear findings on imaging
  • Biopsy to get a small tissue sample for analysis
  • Follow up of previously noted polyps, tumors, or ulcers
  • Persistent nausea, vomiting, or difficulty swallowing
  • Upper GI bleeding
  • Unexplained, persistent abdominal pain
  • Removal of a foreign body

About the Procedure 

Before Your EGD: An empty stomach allows for the best and safest examination. You will need to stop eating or drinking for up to eight hours before your EGD exam. You also may need to adjust your medications as part of your preparation for the procedure. It is important to discuss your medications with your physician before scheduling the EGD.  

Please tell your doctor if you have:

  • Allergies or reactions to medications
  • Are taking aspirin, arthritis medicines, or blood thinners
  • Have a blood disorder that causes you to bleed easily
  • Think you may be pregnant
  • Usually take antibiotics for dental procedures

By New York State regulations, a companion, an adult 18 years or older, must be available to accompany you home after the procedure. The sedation you receive may impair your reflexes and judgment. Your procedure will be canceled if a companion is not available to escort you home afterwards.

During Your EGD: The procedure typically takes between 10 to 30 minutes.

You will lie on your left side. An anesthesiologist will administer an intravenous (IV) sedative so you sleep through the procedure. A plastic mouth guard is placed between your teeth to prevent damage to your teeth. Air is pushed gently through the endoscope to fully open the esophagus, stomach, and intestine. This allows the endoscopist to get the full and complete view of the area.

You will continue to breathe without difficulty during the procedure.

After Your EGD: After the procedure, you will be observed while the sedation wears off. It is normal to feel tired for a short time from the sedative medication. You must have someone to escort you home after the procedure. You should not to drive or return to work for the remainder of the day.

The endoscopist will describe the results of the exam before you leave. If tissue was taken for a biopsy, you will get those results two weeks after your endoscopy.

Possible Complications: Upper endoscopy is a safe procedure and complications are rare.

However, possible complications may include:

  • Aspiration of food or fluid into the lungs: This is minimized by following the dietary restrictions of no food for eight hours before to the procedure
  • Bleeding from biopsies or polyp removal: Typically minimal and controlled
  • Reaction to the sedative medication: Tell us if you have had previous reactions
  • Tearing in the area being examined: A serious but rare occurrence

Immediately tell your doctor if you experience any of the following signs or symptoms:

  • Crunching feeling under skin of the neck
  • Difficulty swallowing or severe throat pain
  • Elevated temperature
  • Firm swollen or bloated abdomen
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Vomiting

Your doctors and healthcare team are here to help you have a safe and comfortable experience. Please ask us if you have any questions.