Upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy is a procedure that allows a doctor to examine the lining of your esophagus (food pipe), stomach, and the beginning of the small intestine (duodenum). This is done using an endoscope, a flexible tube with a tiny camera at the end that transmits images to a monitor.
It is sometimes called an esophagogastroduodenoscopy.
Before the Procedure
You will be given instructions to fast for a certain amount of time before the procedure. This is usually for at least 6 to 8 hours, but your doctor will give you specific instructions based on your individual case.
You may be asked to stop taking certain medications, especially blood thinners, a few days before the procedure. Make sure to inform your doctor of all the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements.
You should arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure, as the sedation used during the procedure can impair your ability to drive or operate machinery.
During the Procedure
You will be given a sedative to help you relax and reduce any discomfort. The sedative is usually given through an IV.
You will lie on your left side, and a mouth guard will be placed in your mouth to protect your teeth and help you keep your mouth open during the procedure.
The endoscope will be inserted through your mouth and down your throat. You may feel some pressure or discomfort, but the sedative should help minimize any pain. You may also be given a local anesthetic spray to numb your throat.
The doctor will examine the lining of your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum using the camera on the endoscope. Biopsies (small tissue samples) may be taken during the procedure for further examination.
After the Procedure
You will be monitored in a recovery area until the effects of the sedative wear off. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
You may experience some mild discomfort or bloating after the procedure, but this should go away within a few hours.
You should not eat or drink anything until your gag reflex returns, to avoid the risk of choking.
You will be given instructions on how to care for yourself at home, including when you can resume eating and drinking when you can return to work or other normal activities, and any other specific instructions your doctor may have.
Upper GI endoscopy is generally a safe procedure, but there are some risks involved, including bleeding, infection, and perforation (tearing) of the lining of the GI tract.
These complications are rare, but being aware of them is important.
Make sure to inform your doctor if you experience any severe pain, fever, difficulty swallowing, or other unusual symptoms after the procedure.
Upper GI endoscopy is an important diagnostic tool that can help identify various conditions affecting the upper digestive system.
By following your doctor’s instructions and being aware of the possible risks, you can help ensure a safe and successful procedure.