An upper endoscopy or EGD (esophago-gastro-duodenoscopy) is an examination of the upper intestinal tract, including the esophagus, stomach and early small intestine. It is an exam that is performed with intravenous sedation to prevent discomfort or awareness. Patients do not remember the exam nor have any discomfort with the exam. The purpose of an upper endoscopy is to identify diseases in the upper gastrointestinal tract such as heartburn, esophageal strictures, stomach ulcers or celiac disease. It is also useful in patients with upper abdominal complaints or pain.
In order to prepare for an upper endoscopy alone, you will need to have an empty stomach. For this, you will not eat or drink anything after midnight. If you are having an EGD and colonoscopy at the same setting, you will need to have a bowel preparation which includes bowel preparation and liquids on the morning of the procedure.
During your EGD, you are placed on your left side down. You will be given a bite block that allows you to rest your teeth yet keep your mouth open. After sedation, the endoscope is inserted through the mouth, down the esophagus and into the stomach and duodenum (first portion of the intestines). Important landmarks are visualized. The gastrointestinal tract is kept inflated with carbon dioxide during the examination to distend the walls so that small lesions are more readily identified. If a lesion is identified, usually these can be removed with small instruments placed through the working channels on the endoscope. The lesions are retrieved and sent to a pathologist for evaluation. Following complete examination, the carbon dioxide is removed and you are awakened from anesthesia.
Afterwards, you will awaken and be discharged to home. It is rare that you would have any discomfort following the procedure. You will need a driver to drive you home. You will feel normal for the rest of the day. We do not allow driving or work following anesthesia. After a good night’s rest, you may resume normal activities as usual the next day.
If biopsies are taken or findings that need to be discussed, you will have an appointment with Dr. Biggs scheduled for you prior to discharge. Repeat examinations are scheduled based on your findings.