Endoscopy (also known as upper endoscopy, EGD, or panendoscopy) is an examination of the upper intestinal tract (esophagus, stomach & duodenum) done with a very thin, flexible electronic camera (endoscope).
The concept of an endoscopy is very similar to that of a colonoscopy, except that we are examining the upper GI tract, instead of the colon, the procedure is much faster (3-5 minutes), and requires no preparation.
We also use anesthesia administered by one of our nurse anesthetist to perform EGD’s because it work so quickly and wears off within a few minutes. Again, patients have no awareness of the procedure afterwards.
Endoscopies are usually performed for the following reasons:
- You are having persistent indigestion or heartburn
- You are having difficulty swallowing
- You have unexplained upper abdominal pain
- You have unexplained anemia (low red cell count or hemoglobin)
- You have a family history of esophageal or gastric (stomach) cancer
- Unexplained weight loss
- You have a known premalignant condition of the esophagus (called Barrett’s esophagus) which requires regular follow up.
Preparation is not required for an endoscopy, other than no drinking or eating for several hours prior to the procedure. Details about what you need to do prior to having an upper endoscopy can be found on our How to Prepare page.
Endoscopy, like colonoscopy, is considered a very safe, low risk procedure. Potential, though very rare complications include bowel wall injury or perforation, bleeding and anesthetic complications which occur at a rate of less than 1:10,000.
If you have any further questions about this procedure, be sure to ask Dr. Berger or one of his staff members.