What to expect: Your Upper Endoscopy

What to expect the day of your upper endoscopy (EGD)

Upper GI endoscopy, also known as esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), is a procedure designed to visualize the upper portion of your gastrointestinal tract.

A flexible endoscope with a brightly lighted tip is gently guided through your esophagus, stomach, and early small bowel. The images are viewed on a video screen by your gastroenterologist. During EGD, your physician can pass instruments through the endoscope allowing for tissue biopsies, polyp removal, medication administration, tissue dilation, and laser or heat therapy.

By now, your physician has recommended you undergo EGD. You will receive written instructions in the mail prior to your examination regarding the preparation. You should not eat or drink for six hours prior to your exam. Specific instructions can be found on our website at www.idahogastro.com.

EGD is an outpatient procedure unless you are currently hospitalized, so you can expect to return home the same day of the procedure. When you arrive the day of your EGD, an IV will be placed into your arm or hand. Your medical history will be reviewed and you will have an opportunity to speak with your physician prior to starting the test. A specially trained endoscopy nurse will administer medications to induce relaxation. Your nurse will constantly monitor your vital signs while your physician performs your examination.

EGD generally takes between 10-25 minutes to complete. The intravenous medications make most patients feel relaxed and drowsy, and some even sleep through their examination. The medication is NOT general anesthesia and you will retain your capacities throughout the examination.

To adequately evaluate the gastrointestinal tract lining, your physician will place air into your gastrointestinal tract through the endoscope. Air can sometimes produce mild cramps. After your exam you may need to burp to expel air. The sedative medications wear off quickly and you will be awake within 10-15 minutes after the procedure is completed. Your physician will speak with you after the exam. Due to the medication effects, you must have a driver to assist you home. Your procedure will be cancelled if a ride has not been arranged prior to the exam.

You can expect to spend between 2-3 hours at our facility for your examination and recovery. You should not consume alcoholic beverages nor drive for 24 hours after the exam.

EGD is a safe and common procedure. However, risks do exist. The most common complications include redness or swelling at the IV site. Usually this can be managed with local heat compresses. More serious risks of the procedure include medication reactions, bleeding, infection, or perforation. Perforation is an unexpected tear in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Perforation may require hospitalization, antibiotics, or surgery for correction.

You will be asked to sign an informed consent on the day of your procedure.

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