Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)

Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) is also called upper GI endoscopy. It is a test to let your doctor see inside your upper digestive system.

In this test, your doctor inserts an endoscope (flexible tube equipped with a light and tiny camera) down your throat to see inside your esophagus, stomach and small intestine to check for ulcers. If needed, your doctor can get tissue samples (biopsy) during EGD. These samples are examined in a lab to check for problems. Your doctor can also perform some treatments during EGD by inserting tools through the tube.

You have EGD at a clinic, outpatient surgical center or hospital.

Why it is Done

You might need EGD if your doctor needs to find out what is causing your symptoms, collect tissue samples for a biopsy or treat a condition involving your esophagus, stomach or top of your small intestine (duodenum). It can be used to stop bleeding, remove tumors and polyps, fix narrowed arrows and remove foreign objects.

Sometimes EGD is combined with ultrasound. An ultrasound device is attached to the tube to use sound waves to make pictures of areas that are hard to see with the endoscope alone.

What to Expect

  • You may be asked to not eat before your procedure or to eat only clear liquids. You also might need to avoid certain medications before EGD. Your doctor goes over these instructions with you.
  • You may need to clean out your colon like you would do for a colonoscopy. Your doctor tells you if this is necessary.
  • EGD is an outpatient procedure. You are sedated with medication given through a needle in your arm (intravenously or IV). The medication might make you sleepy. If you feel any discomfort, it should be minimal.
  • Your doctor may numb your throat with a spray before placing the endoscope (tube) in your mouth. You lie on your back or on your side during the procedure. Sometimes, the endoscope needs to be inserted through the rectum.
  • As the endoscope goes through your digestive system, your doctor looks at the images on different computer screens.
  • The procedure takes as long as 30 minutes. You are monitored for an hour or two afterward. Then you can go home.
  • You can't drive yourself home after having sedation medication. Be sure to bring someone along or arrange for a ride home.
  • You might need to rest the remainder of the day because you've had a sedative. Usually, you can return to most normal activities. You might notice a sore throat or abdominal bloating for a day or two.

What the Risks Are

EGD is safe when performed by doctors who are well trained and experienced. Our doctors have performed thousands of EGD procedures. We take every measure to make sure you are safe and comfortable.

Complications of EGD are not common. Some people have a reaction to sedation medication or bleeding. Infection is a possibility with many procedures. Rarely, you can get a tear in the lining of your stomach or duodenum (part of your small intestine) that needs surgical repair.

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