An Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) Endoscopy is the visual examination of the inside lining of esophagus, stomach and first part of small intestine, called as duodenum because these parts of the human body collectively called as Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) tract. A long, thin, flexible viewing tool is used to perform the procedure, called as Endoscope. The tip of Endoscope is inserted through the mouth and gently moves down through the throat into the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. The medical term used for the Upper GI Endoscopy procedure is called Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD). The procedure is used to diagnose and treat the conditions that affect the upper part of the digestive system.
Preparation of Upper GI Endoscopy:
In order to prepare for EGD, the doctor gives a set of instructions that you should strictly follow as they help to perform the procedure successfully. For Upper GI Endoscopy prep, you need to stop taking certain medications and blood-thinners for several days before the test. You need to stop eating or drinking 4-8 hours before the procedure to ensure that your stomach is completely empty.
Procedure of Upper GI Endoscopy:
At first, the doctor asks you to lie down on a table on your back or on the side. After that, the doctor and the team of medical professionals perform the following steps:
- Monitors are often attached to the body which helps the team to monitor the blood pressure, breathing and heart rate during the procedure.
- The doctor gives a sedative to the patient through a vein in the forearm. It helps the patient to feel relax during the procedure.
- The doctor, sometimes, may spray anesthetic medication in the mouth that numbs the throat so that the long, flexible Endoscope can easily be inserted. The patient is also asked to wear a plastic mouth guard that holds the mouth open during the EGD.
- Then, the doctor inserts Endoscope in the mouth and asks the patient to swallow as it passes down into throat. The patient may feel some pressure in the throat but there is no pain.
After the Endoscope passes down the throat, the patient can’t talk but he/she can make noises. The Endoscope does not interfere with the breathing.
After the Endoscope passed down into the esophagus, the doctor performs following steps:
- The tiny camera at the tip of the tube transmits images to video monitor placed in the examination room, where the doctor sees the monitor and look for abnormalities in upper GI tract. If any abnormality is found then the doctor take the images that will be used for later examination and treatment.
- A gentle air pressure is fed into the esophagus to inflate the digestive tract. This helps the doctor to move the Endoscope freely and easily examine different folds of digestive tract. The patient may feel some pressure or fullness due to this added air.
- The doctor passes certain surgical tools through the Endoscope in order to collect sample of tissue (biopsy) for more detail examination or to remove a polyp, if it exists.
When the procedure is finished, the doctor slowly takes back the Endoscope through the mouth. Usually, the procedure takes 15-30 minutes but it may alter depending on the condition of individual patient.
What to expect after the procedure?
Immediately after the procedure, you will be taken to recovery area where you can sit or lie down quietly for about one hour. The team monitors you as the effects of sedative begin to disappear. You may also experience some uncomfortable signs and symptoms which include cramping, bloating, gas and sore throat but these will improve with the time. If you feel much uncomfortable then you may consult the doctor who helps you to manage the situation.