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.
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.
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.