Upper Endoscopy (EGD)

What is an Upper Endoscopy?

Your doctor may have used the term upper endoscopy, EGD or esophagogastroduodenoscopy to describe a diagnostic test that is usually performed by a gastroenterologist. All of these words are interchangeable and refer to a test used to examine the upper portion of your digestive tract, including your:

  • Esophagus (the tube that moves food from your mouth to stomach)
  • Stomach
  • Duodenum (first part of your small intestine)

An EGD may be ordered if you’ve complained of abdominal pain, persistent nausea or vomiting, troubles swallowing, internal bleeding, frequent acid reflux, or other problems that may be caused by a damaged or malfunctioning digestive system.

An upper endoscopy may also be used to do a biopsy. A biopsy is simply taking sample tissues from an area for further testing and may be performed for a variety of reasons.

Certain treatment procedures can also be performed during an upper endoscopy, including widening the esophagus, removing polyps and repairing gastrointestinal ulcers.

How is an Upper Endoscopy Performed?

An endoscope is a long, flexible tube about as thick as a small finger that has a light and camera on the end of it. During an upper endoscopy, you’ll be asked to lie on your left side on an exam table while the tube is placed into your mouth, down your throat, and into your stomach. This allows your doctor to examine the soft tissues inside digestive tract, which are usually unable to see clearly on an X-ray image.

After the procedure, you’ll be monitored by healthcare professionals until any sedatives have worn off. You may notice a mild sore throat at this time, but this can usually be easily resolved with saline gargles. You should be able to resume eating within a few hours after your procedure. If sedatives were used, you will need to have someone else drive you home and avoid operating heavy machinery for the remainder of the day.

In most cases, the physician who performed your endoscopy will be able to discuss the results of your exam before you leave. The results of any biopsies performed will take a few days to receive.

Does an EGD Hurt?

Most people do not experience any pain during an EDG procedure. Many doctors administer some type of sedative and use a numbing throat spray to alleviate any potential pain or discomfort. Depending on the type of sedative you’re given and your individual reaction to it, you may even sleep through an upper endoscopy.

An EDG is a very safe, minimally invasive procedure. The tube does not interfere with your breathing and complications are extremely rare, usually limited to a reaction to any sedatives given. In order to reduce your risk for these types of complications, be sure to talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking or current medical conditions you’re suffering from before having the procedure.

How do You Prepare for an EGD?

Be sure to follow the specific instructions given to you by your doctor before your endoscopy. In most cases, these instructions will include fasting for at least six hours before the procedure in order to make sure that your stomach is empty.

Digestive Diseases Treatment Center performs upper endoscopies for patients in the Brooklyn and Manhattan areas.