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Upper GI Endoscopy


Major Spencer
Upper gastrointestinal, or GI, endoscopy is a procedure that allows a provider to view the lining of the upper GI tract, including the esophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine, called the duodenum. Dr. Jerman, can you tell us more about upper GI endoscopy?

Dr. Jerman
Definitely, Major Spencer. Providers use upper GI endoscopy, also called esophagogastroduodenoscopy, or EGD, to help diagnose and evaluate a number of GI conditions, including:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Esophageal and gastric cancer
  • Submucosal nodules, such as lipomas, carcinoids, and gastrointestinal stromal tumors, or GISTs
  • Esophagitis, or inflammation of the esophagus
  • Celiac disease
  • Strictures or narrowing of the esophagus, and
  • Obstruction or blockage

Upper GI endoscopy can also be used to take biopsies or tissue samples, and to control bleeding from ulcers and other conditions. Other treatments that can be done with upper GI endoscopy include:

  • Dilating or opening up narrowed areas in the esophagus
  • Removing objects, including food, that may be stuck in the upper GI tract
  • Removing submucosal nodules, and
  • Placing feeding or drainage tubes

During an upper GI endoscopy, the provider passes a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope through the mouth into the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. The endoscope has a tiny camera at the end so that the provider can see the inner lining of the upper GI tract. The endoscope pumps air into the stomach and duodenum to make them easier to see. Tiny tools can also be passed through the endoscope for taking tissue samples, opening strictures, or removing growths or lodged objects.

Upper GI endoscopy is usually done when the patient is under intravenous sedation, which makes the person very drowsy, but comfortable and still breathing on their own. A gargle or spray to numb the throat may also be given to prevent stimulation of the natural gag reflex during the procedure. Some people may experience a sore throat for a day or two after their upper GI endoscopy.