An upper GI endoscopy may be ordered for several reasons. It may be used to identify digestive or inflammatory diseases and infections. It is helpful for determining the cause of bleeding, swallowing difficulties, and pain. It is used to detect abnormalities including tumors, narrowing of the esophagus, and obstructions. Additionally, an endoscope is used for taking photographs, obtaining tissue samples, surgically removing polyps, and to treat bleeding. An upper GI endoscopy can sometimes eliminate the need for an exploratory surgery.
An upper GI endoscopy is an outpatient procedure that can be performed at a doctor’s office or a hospital. Another person will need to drive you home because you will receive sedation medication for the procedure. You should not eat or drink for several hours before the test. You may need to stop taking aspirin or blood thinning medications a few days prior to your procedure. Your doctor will provide you with specific instructions.
You will wear an examination gown for your upper GI endoscopy. You will receive pain-relieving medication and a sedative through an IV line. The medication will relax you and make you feel drowsy. Your throat area will be numbed with a spray, gargle, or medication to relax your gag reflex.
You will lie on your left side for the procedure. You will wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth. Dentures should be removed. Your doctor will carefully place the endoscope in your throat and gently guide it through your upper gastrointestinal tract. Air or water will be inserted to provide a better view and to help advance the endoscope. You may need to change positions during the procedure to allow your doctor to best place the endoscope.
The procedure may cause temporary discomfort. It is common to experience gagging or belching. The numbing medication will temporarily impede your ability to swallow. You should not eat or drink for a few hours following your procedure. Your doctor will instruct you on how to increase your food and liquid intake. Your doctor will also discuss possible unexpected symptoms related to the test that may occur and a plan to address them.
Your doctor will review the results of your upper GI endoscopy with you at a follow-up appointment. It may take time to receive biopsy results. If any abnormal results were found by your test, your doctor will discuss treatment plan options with you.