What is an Upper Endoscopy?
An upper endoscopy is a medical procedure used to examine the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract. This procedure is also known as esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD.
A gastrointestinal doctor, or gastroenterologist, uses an endoscope for this procedure. The endoscope is a flexible, narrow tube with a small video camera and light. With the help of this instrument, the doctor can examine the inside lining of various parts of your digestive tract, including:
- Esophagus: It is the tube that transports food from the mouth to the stomach.
- Stomach: It is the organ responsible for holding food and starting the digestion process.
- Duodenum: It is the upper part of the small intestine.
When is an Upper Endoscopy Required?
A person may be required to go through an upper endoscopy procedure if they have unexplained:
- Abdominal pain.
- Weight loss.
- Bleeding in the upper part of the digestive tract.
- Vomiting and nausea.
- Swallowing problems.
Who Do Doctors Perform an Upper Endoscopy?
Both upper and lower endoscopy allows healthcare providers to have a direct, close look at different parts of the digestive tract. Moreover, an upper endoscopy is known to be more accurate and helpful than X-rays for diagnosing issues in the upper digestive system. Some of these problems are:
- Acid reflux and heartburn.
- Inflammation, including gastritis, duodenitis, and esophagitis.
- Cancerous and noncancerous tumors.
- Stomach or peptic ulcers.
- Swallowing disorders.
What Does an Upper Endoscopy Help With?
Upper endoscopy helps with a number of health issues, including:
- Controlling bleeding in the upper digestive tract.
- Widening narrowed digestive tract
- Removing tumors, polyps, or swallowed objects.
What Other Procedures an Upper Endoscopy Combined With?
A healthcare provider may combine an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy with other medical procedures, including:
- X-rays: Doctors combine X-rays and an upper endoscopy while performing endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). This procedure helps in the diagnosis and treatment of various health problems related to the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, and pancreas.
- Ultrasound: Ultrasound combined with endoscopy forms images of the digestive tract. It is also known as endoscopic ultrasound. Endoscopic ultrasound also provides pictures of the surrounding organs, tissues, and lymph nodes.
What Should You Do Before an Upper Endoscopy?
To aid the doctor in viewing the digestive tract clearly, you should get the procedure done with an empty stomach. You may also need to get the preparation reviewed by your doctor.
Importantly, you will be required to have only clear liquids for at least eight hours prior to the procedure. You can consume things like broth, popsicles, gelatin, black coffee or tea, and water.
What are the Potential Complications or Risks of Upper Endoscopy?
Essentially, an upper endoscopy is a low-risk medical procedure. However, it does come with some complications, such as:
- Allergic reactions caused by anesthesia or sedative.
- Digestive tract infection or bleeding.
- Tear or perforation in the digestive tract lining.
When Do You Get the Test Results?
Once the procedure of upper endoscopy is done, the doctor will share the diagnostic findings with the patient immediately. As for the results of the biopsy are concerned, it takes around two weeks.