WHAT IS AN UPPER ENDOSCOPY?
An upper endoscopy procedure lets the doctor examine the lining of the upper gastrointestinal tract, which includes the esophagus (swallowing tube that connects the mouth and stomach), stomach, and duodenum (first part of the small intestine).
The gastroenterologist (a doctor specializing in digestive diseases) will insert a thin flexible tube which has a small light and camera (an endoscope) at the end so he/she will be able to see the inside of the upper gastrointestinal tract.
WHY IS AN UPPER ENDOSCOPY PERFORMED?
An upper endoscopy is used to evaluate symptoms of repeated upper abdominal pain, bleeding, nausea, vomiting, or difficulty swallowing. It is also more accurate than x-ray films for finding redness, ulcers, and tumors of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum.
Endoscopy may also be used to stretch a narrowed area in the upper gastrointestinal tract, remove a polyp (an abnormal growth), treat bleeding, or obtain a biopsy (small tissue sample) to make a diagnosis.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING THE PROCEDURE
Before the exam, an anesthetic will be sprayed into the patient's throat. The throat will be numb to the feeling of the endoscope being inserted and pulled out. The patient will also receive a sedative to help him/her relax during the exam. No pain is associated with the procedure.
The endoscope will show images of the organs on a video monitor that the gastroenterologist will watch to guide the tube and, if treatment is part of that patient's exam, specialized surgical tools.