Upper Endoscopy (EGD)
Examination of the Upper Digestive Tract
An Upper Endoscopy, upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (EGD) at Gastroenterology Associates of Colorado Springs (GACS) Pikes Peak Endoscopy Center, is a procedure that uses a lighted, flexible endoscope, or camera inserted through your mouth, to see inside the upper gastrointestinal tract. This procedure can determine the cause of many digestive symptoms including abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, gastric reflux, and swallowing difficulties. These symptoms may be caused by abnormal growths, bowel obstructions, ulcers, inflammation or precancerous conditions. An Upper Endoscopy exam will help your doctor diagnose why you are having swallowing difficulty, nausea, vomiting, reflux, or abdominal pain.
The patient is usually sedated during an upper endoscopy to ensure comfort and cooperation. The endoscope is inserted through the mouth and guided down the throat, allowing the doctor to view and assess the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum in real time. This procedure is commonly used to:
- Diagnose and evaluate various gastrointestinal conditions, such as ulcers, inflammation, or tumors.
- Identify the cause of symptoms like abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing, nausea, vomiting, or unexplained weight loss.
- Collect tissue samples (biopsies) for further analysis, which can help diagnose conditions like celiac disease, gastritis, or Barrett’s esophagus.
- Remove polyps or small tumors.
- Treat certain conditions, such as stopping bleeding from ulcers or dilating narrowed areas (strictures) in the esophagus or stomach.
Upper endoscopy is considered a safe and well-tolerated procedure. However, like any medical intervention, it may carry some risks and complications, such as bleeding, infection, or injury to the gastrointestinal tract. Patients are usually provided with pre-procedure instructions, and they may need to refrain from eating or drinking for a certain period before the test. After the procedure, patients might experience some temporary discomfort, such as a sore throat, which typically resolves within a day or two. It’s essential to discuss the potential risks, benefits, and alternatives with your healthcare provider before undergoing an upper endoscopy.
Preparing for an Upper Endoscopy
To prepare for your Upper Endoscopy, your upper GI tract must be empty which means no eating, drinking, smoking or chewing gum eight hours before your exam. You can still drink clear liquids up until three hours before your procedure, but three hours prior, we ask that you don’t have anything more to drink. Patients may be sedated before the procedure and are asked to stop taking medication that affects blood clotting or any that interact with sedatives. You should also arrange for a ride home from the clinic.
Upper Endoscopy Procedure
After you check-in, one of our friendly staff will make you comfortable in a private room. Your vital signs will be taken as well as a review of your health history. Your nurse will insert an IV into your arm that will be used to administer medication to help you relax during your procedure. All of your vitals will be monitored by an anesthetist to ensure your comfort and safety. Once you are relaxed, you will be positioned on your left side, and your physician will insert an endoscope into your mouth. This scope is a long, flexible tube that is outfitted with a camera and light to enable your doctor to look into your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. If any abnormalities are seen, your doctor will take a tissue sample for biopsy. An upper endoscopy usually takes less than 15 minutes, and after the procedure, you will be monitored by a nurse until you wake up a couple of minutes later.
Upper Endoscopy Post Procedure
Once you wake up in your private, comfortable recovery room, you will be offered a custom, gourmet drink from our Bottoms Up Coffee Bar. You will need to have a ride home scheduled because you may still feel the side-effects of the anesthesia. The rest of the day should be relaxing, and you may return to normal day-to-day activities the following day.