GI Procedures FAQs

Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy


What is upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy?
Upper GI endoscopy is a procedure that uses a lighted, flexible endoscope to see inside the upper GI tract that includes the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum—the first part of the small intestine.

What problems can upper GI endoscopy detect?

  • Ulcers
  • Abnormal growths
  • Precancerous conditions such as Barrett’s esophagus
  • Esophageal strictures
  • Inflammation such as gastritis
  • Hiatal hernia

When is upper GI endoscopy used?
An upper GI endoscopy is used to biopsy the tissue in the upper GI tract by removing a small piece of tissue to examine with a microscope.  This procedure helps determine the cause of symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, reflux, weight loss and bleeding.  It is frequently used to diagnose the cause of swallowing difficulties.
Upper GI endoscopy can also be used to remove objects like food, and to treat conditions such as bleeding ulcers.

How to Prepare for Upper GI Endoscopy
No eating or drinking 8 hours before the procedure.  Also avoid smoking and gum chewing.  Some medications and vitamins may be prohibited so tell your doctor about all of your health conditions before your upper GI endoscopy.
You will be sedated for this procedure so driving is not permitted for 12 to 24 hours after an upper GI endoscopy.

How is upper GI endoscopy performed?
Patients are sedated to numb the throat and calm the gag reflux.  Then an endoscope with a small camera is fed down the esophagus into the stomach and duodenum.  A video image is transmitted to a monitor to view the intestinal lining.  During the upper GI endoscopy air is pumped through the endoscope to inflate the stomach making it easier to see.  The doctor can also use special tools during the procedure to perform biopsies, stop bleeding and to remove abnormal growths.

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