Diseases of the digestive tract were difficult to reach in the early days of gastrointestinal medicine. Thankfully, today’s gastroenterologists have many tools in their arsenal designed to detect dangerous conditions in our digestive tract. When ourBeverly Hills gastroenterologists need to diagnose or treat conditions of the upper GI tract, few procedures are as effective as an upper endoscopy.
WHAT IS AN UPPER ENDOSCOPY PROCEDURE?
An upper endoscopy (EGD) is a procedure utilized by GI doctors that allows them to see the upper part of a patient’s gastrointestinal tract. During an EGD, a gastroenterologist can visualize the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. This allows your physician to diagnose and determine treatment for certain medical conditions that affect the upper GI tract.
Upper endoscopies are very safe procedures, and they allow doctors to spot trouble spots that other tests will not show. Furthermore, a doctor can both diagnose and treat some of these conditions during an EGD. These conditions can include but are not limited to the following:
- Abnormal bleeding
- Abnormal weight loss
- Cancerous tissues
During the procedure, patients are under sedation with anesthesia. A small, flexible scope (known as an endoscope) is inserted into the patient’s mouth. Thanks to the EGD, gastroenterologists can examine the esophagus, stomach, and beginning of the small intestines for abnormalities. These problem areas are removed and biopsied for diagnosis. All told, an upper endoscopy usually lasts from 10-15 minutes, making it a very short procedure.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF AN EGD?
The benefits of an EGD can be significant, and these benefits include:
- Early Detection of Inflammation and Bleeding: GI doctors can use an endoscope to identify bleeding, inflammation and other abnormalities that won’t necessarily appear on an X-ray. As a result, GI doctors can treat these issues before they get out of hand.
- Quick Identification of Polyps and Tumors: An EGD allows a GI doctor to track polyps and tumors before they can develop into cancer. If a GI doctor identifies any polyps or tumors during an EGD, he or she will work with a patient to develop a personalized treatment plan, too.
- Advanced Testing and Treatment: In some instances, a GI doctor uses an EGD to remove samples of tissue that will be used for additional testing. Or, a GI doctor may insert instruments into an endoscope to treat bleeding abnormalities during an EGD.
WHO CAN PERFORM AN EGD?
The best type of doctor to see for an upper endoscopy is a gastroenterologist or GI doctor. Gastroenterologists are specially trained doctors that diagnose and treat conditions of the digestive tract. The area of the digestive tract that GI doctors hone in on includes the esophagus, stomach, and intestines.
Gastroenterologists have also been specially training in endoscopic procedures. Due to their training in these techniques, GI doctors can identify the conditions of the digestive tract better, as well as lower the risk of complications from the procedures, than other physicians.
AT WHAT AGE SHOULD I SCHEDULE AN UPPER ENDOSCOPY?
There is no recommended age for an EGD. If you experience any of the following symptoms or have a family history with any of the above conditions, you should schedule an upper endoscopy sooner rather than later:
- Unusual abdominal pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Non-cardiac chest pain
- Nausea or vomiting
You should also talk to your doctor about scheduling an EGD if you experience any of the following:
- History of GERD
- Been diagnosed with Barrett esophagus or polyposis syndromes
- You requiring a biopsy for an upper GI disease
An upper endoscopy can also be utilized therapeutically for the following:
- Retrieval of foreign objects
- Control or stop bleeding
- Dilatation or stenting of stricture
- Ablation of cancers.
How long does it take to perform an EGD?
Generally, an endoscopy takes about 15 to 30 minutes to complete.
Is an EGD painful?
Most patients experience little to no pain during an EGD. A patient receives anesthesia prior to treatment, which helps minimize pain.
Following an EGD, patients sometimes experience a slight sore throat. However, this problem is usually temporary and can be relieved with warm liquids or throat lozenges.
What do I need to bring on the day of an EGD?
A patient should bring a photo ID and his or her insurance card. Also, it is important to wear loose-fitting and comfortable clothing and leave any jewelry or accessories at home.
How long does it take to recover after an EGD?
A patient typically needs to remain in a recovery area for about 30 to 40 minutes after an EGD. At this time, a GI doctor monitors a patient’s response to sedation.
Will I be able to return home on my own after an EGD?
No. Since a patient is sedated during an EGD, this individual should not drive home on his or her own after the procedure. Instead, a patient should make plans before an EGD to ensure a friend or family member can take him or her home following the procedure.
When should I expect to receive my EGD results?
In most instances, a GI doctor can provide EGD results the same day as the procedure. The results may even be delivered to a patient prior to his or her discharge from a recovery area. If a patient receives a biopsy, additional time may be needed to obtain the full test results. In this instance, a patient may receive his or her test results within a few days after the procedure.
CONTACT A BEVERLY HILLS GI DOCTOR AT LA PEER
If you want to schedule your first EGD or are looking to schedule your next upper endoscopy with a different doctor then contact the Department of Gastroenterology at La Peer Health Systems. Our GI doctors were trained at some of the nation’s finest medical schools, and their support staff of nurses is second to none.
To find out more, contact us at 855.360.9119 or fill out the fill out our online contact form.
Next, read about Barrett’s Esophagus.