Upper GI Endoscopy

An upper endoscopy is a minimally-invasive examination of the upper gastrointestinal tract, consisting of the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine. This procedure is used to screen for ulcers, inflammation, and tumors, as well as identify and correct bleeding problems in these areas.

What is upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy?

Upper GI endoscopy is a procedure in which a doctor uses an endoscope—a long, flexible tube with a camera—to see the lining of your upper GI tract. A gastroenterologist, surgeon, or other trained health care provider performs the procedure, most often while you receive light sedation. Your doctor may also call the procedure an EGD or esophagogastroduodenoscopy.

How do I prepare for an upper GI endoscopy?

Talk with your doctor
You should talk with your doctor about medical conditions you have and all prescribed and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and supplements you take, including

  • aspirin or medicines that contain aspirin
  • arthritis medicines
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen
  • blood thinners
  • blood pressure medicines
  • diabetes medicines

How do we perform an upper GI endoscopy?

Our doctors perform an upper GI endoscopy in a hospital or an outpatient center. An intravenous (IV) needle will be placed in your arm to provide a sedative. Sedatives help you stay relaxed and comfortable during the procedure. In some cases, the procedure can be performed without sedation. You will be given a liquid anesthetic to gargle or spray anesthetic on the back of your throat. The anesthetic numbs your throat and calms the gag reflex. The health care staff will monitor your vital signs and keep you as comfortable as possible.

You’ll be asked to lie on your side on an exam table. The doctor will carefully feed the endoscope down your esophagus and into your stomach and duodenum. A small camera mounted on the endoscope will send a video image to a monitor, allowing close examination of the lining of your upper GI tract. The endoscope pumps air into your stomach and duodenum, making them easier to see.

During the upper GI endoscopy, the doctor may

  • Perform a biopsy of tissue in your upper GI tract. You won’t feel the biopsy.
  • Stop any bleeding.
  • Perform other specialized procedures, such as dilating strictures.

​​​The procedure most often takes between 15 and 30 minutes. The endoscope does not interfere with your breathing, and many people fall asleep during the procedure.