Your digestive system, also called the gastrointestinal system, is made up of organs that collaborate to convert food into energy. These include the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine (colon/rectum) and anus.
If you have been experiencing chest pain, nausea and vomiting, heartburn, bleeding and/or trouble swallowing, our general surgeons can perform an upper endoscopy, or esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD).
An EGD is a simple procedure that examines your upper GI tract. The test uses an endoscope, a lighted camera on the end of a tube, to pass down your throat and examine your esophagus, stomach and duodenum (the first portion of your small intestine).
Sometimes an EGD can be used to treat a problem. Maybe you or your child swallowed something that needs to be removed, your doctor spotted something on an x-ray that needs further investigation, or you need a biopsy. All of these are done during an esophagogastroduodenoscopy by passing tiny tools through the endoscope.
Many things that can be done on the spot include:
- Stop bleeding
- Perform biopsies
- Remove polyps or other pathologies
- Perform dilations (stretch the esophagus wider)
Who might need an EGD?
You may need an EGD if you have experienced:
- Abdominal pain
- Bleeding in the upper digestive tract
- Swallowing problems
- Painful heartburn
- Weight loss
During an EGD your surgeon can take biopsies and it is often more accurate than x-rays in diagnosing problems in the upper digestive system. They can look for tissue damage from stomach bile or other chemicals, cell changes in the lining of your organs, abnormal growths or ulcers, inflammation or swelling, or varices (swollen veins).
An EGD can help diagnose:
- Acid reflux, GERD and heartburn
- Cancerous or noncancerous tumors
- Inflammation such as gastritis, duodenitis and esophagitis
- Celiac disease and Crohn’s disease
- Stomach ulcers
- Swallowing disorders (i.e. Achalasia)
- Intestinal metaplasia
- Barrett’s esophagus
- Hiatal hernia
- Cirrhosis of the liver
What can you expect during the test?
Before the test a nurse will put an IV catheter into a vein in your arm to help administer medicine. If you have general anesthesia you will be put completely to sleep so you won’t feel anything. However, most patients have conscious sedation instead. With this you will take a sedative to help you feel relaxed and sleepy, as well as a local anesthetic sprayed into your mouth and throat. This will numb the area. The nurse will place a mouth guard in your mouth and position you on the left side of the table. Once fully sedated or relaxed, the endoscope will go down your throat to your upper GI tract.
It won’t interfere with your breathing and your nurse may have you swallow a couple of times to guide the endoscope downward. Once the endoscope is in, a small amount of air will be used to help expand the esophagus, stomach and duodenum so your surgeon can view them better. Small instruments may be passed through the scope to perform biopsies or other procedures. The entire procedure can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes.
Some people experience bloating and gas over the next day or so, along with a mild sore throat as the numbing agent wears off.
For more information about EGDs, or to schedule a combo procedure with a colonoscopy, visit our website or call the office today to schedule an appointment.