Endoscopy An upper endoscopy is a procedure used to visually examine your upper digestive system
with a tiny camera on the end of a long, flexible tube. A specialist in diseases of the digestive
system (gastroenterologist) uses an endoscopy to diagnose and, sometimes, treat conditions
that affect the esophagus, stomach and beginning of the small intestine (duodenum).
The medical term for an upper endoscopy is esophago-gastroduodenoscopy. You may have an upper endoscopy done in your doctor's office, an outpatient surgery center or a hospital.
An upper endoscopy is used to diagnose and, sometimes, treat conditions that affect the upper
part of your digestive system, including the esophagus, stomach and beginning of the small
Your doctor may recommend an endoscopy procedure to:
An endoscopy is sometimes combined with other procedures, such as an ultrasound. An ultrasound probe may be attached to the endoscope to create specialized images of the wall of your esophagus or stomach. An endoscopic ultrasound may also help your doctor create images of hard-to- reach organs, such as your pancreas. Newer endoscopes use high-definition video to provide clearer images.
Many endoscopes allow your doctor to use technology called narrow band imaging, which uses special light to help better detect precancerous conditions, such as Barrett's esophagus.
An endoscopy is a very safe procedure. Rare complications include:
You can reduce your risk of complications by carefully following your doctor's instructions for preparing for an endoscopy, such as fasting and stopping certain medications.Signs and symptoms that could indicate a complication
Signs and symptoms to watch for after your endoscopy include:
Call your doctor immediately or go to an emergency room if you experience any of these signs or symptoms.
Your doctor will give you specific instructions to prepare for your endoscopy. In some cases your doctor may ask that you:
Tell your doctor about all the medications and supplements you're taking before your endoscopy.Plan ahead for your recovery
Most people undergoing an upper endoscopy will receive a sedative to relax them and make them more comfortable during the procedure. Plan ahead for your recovery while the sedative wears off. You may feel mentally alert, but your memory, reaction times and judgment may be impaired. Find someone to drive you home. You may also need to take the day off from work. Don't make any important personal or financial decisions for 24 hours.
During an upper endoscopy procedure, you'll be asked to lie down on a table on your back or on your side. As the procedure gets underway:
You can't talk after the endoscope passes down your throat, though you can make noises. The endoscope doesn't interfere with your breathing.
As your doctor passes the endoscope down your esophagus:
When your doctor has finished the exam, the endoscope is slowly retracted through your mouth. An endoscopy typically takes 15 to 30 minutes, depending on your situation.After the endoscopy
You'll be taken to a recovery area to sit or lie quietly after your endoscopy. You may stay for an hour or so. This allows your health care team to monitor you as the sedative begins to wear off.
Once you're at home, you may experience some mildly uncomfortable signs and symptoms after endoscopy, such as:
These signs and symptoms will improve with time. If you're concerned or quite uncomfortable, call your doctor.
Take it easy for the rest of the day after your endoscopy. After receiving a sedative, you may feel alert, but your reaction times are affected and judgment is delayed.
When you receive the results of your endoscopy will depend on your situation. If, for instance, your doctor performed the endoscopy to look for an ulcer, you may learn the findings right after your procedure. If he or she collected a tissue sample (biopsy), you may need to wait a few days to get results from the testing laboratory. Ask your doctor when you can expect the results of your endoscopy.