What Is an Upper Endoscopy and Why Would I Need One?

08. 29. 2016

Upper endoscopy is a procedure used to diagnose and treat issues of the upper digestive tract. Using a thin, lighted scope attached to a small camera, your gastroenterologist can visually examine the lining of your esophagus, stomach, and the first portion of the small intestine, called the duodenum. Upper endoscopy is typically performed as an outpatient procedure and can be completed in as little as 15 to 30 minutes.

How is the procedure performed?

Prior to your upper endoscopy, you may be given a sedative or local anesthetic to keep you comfortable and relaxed throughout the procedure. You will be asked to lie on your back or your side, and your gastroenterologist will gently insert the endoscope into your mouth and down your esophagus to examine your upper digestive tract. Images captured by the endoscope are displayed on a monitor in the exam room, allowing your doctor to check for growths, lesions and structural abnormalities.

You may experience slight pressure or discomfort during this procedure, but you should not experience any pain. In fact, many patients are able to sleep through the exam. Once the procedure is complete, the endoscope is removed and you will be moved to a recovery area for monitoring.

Why is it used?

There are many reasons why your doctor may order an upper endoscopy. This procedure is commonly used to diagnose the cause of:

Gastroenterologists can also perform a variety of treatments and procedures during upper endoscopy. These include:

  • Widening of esophageal strictures
  • Cauterizing blood vessels to control bleeding
  • Removal of growths or tumors
  • Removal of foreign objects
  • Collection of tissue samples for biopsy

Your physician will likely discuss the results of your upper endoscopy with you shortly after the procedure. However, you will need to wait several days to receive biopsy results. Once the complete results of your upper endoscopy are available, you and your gastroenterologist can discuss the best treatment plan to address your digestive issues (Source: WebMD).


Related articles:

What Happens After Your Upper Endoscopy?

What to Expect at Your First Visit to the Gastroenterologist

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