Upper GI Endoscopy or EGD is a safe, effective procedure used to diagnose or treat problems of the upper digestive system. The areas that are viewed during an upper GI endoscopy are the esophagus, the stomach, and the duodenum or top of the small intestine. EGD stands for Esophago Gastro Duodenoscopy, which describes the areas examined during this procedure.
Upper GI endoscopy is performed by a gastroenterologist, a specialist who is highly trained in the use of the flexible endoscope to diagnose and treat possible problems of the digestive system.
The endoscope is a long, thin, flexible tube with a camera and light on the end. The gastroenterologist is trained to use the controls on the scope to guide the tube through the upper digestive system, carefully examining the tissue lining the areas of concern.
The gastroenterologist views the clear, detailed images produced by the endoscope on a TV monitor, resulting in an examination that in many cases is more precise than an xray.
Problems of the upper digestive system that may be diagnosed or treated using upper GI endoscopy include difficult or painful swallowing, stomach pain, abdominal pain, bleeding, ulcers, or anemia. Small instruments can be passed through the endoscope and can be used to take tissue samples, stop bleeding, or stretch or dilate a narrow area.
Risks or Complications
Upper GI endoscopy is usually a very quick procedure, taking only 15 to 20 minutes to complete. While this procedure has been done for many years and has proven to be a very safe procedure, rare complications can occur. Perforation of the intestinal wall can occur and would require surgical repair. Other risks are also very rare but can include reaction to the sedative medication, or bleeding from a biopsy site. If you have concerns about possible risks or complications related to your procedure be sure to discuss them with your physician.