Gastroenterology Associates

of Central Pennsylvania, PC


Upper Endoscopy


Upper endoscopy enables the physician
to look inside the esophagus, stomach,
and duodenum (first part of the small
intestine). The procedure might be used
to discover the reason for swallowing
difficulties, nausea, vomiting, reflux,
bleeding, indigestion, abdominal pain, or
chest pain. Upper endoscopy is also
called EGD, which stands for

For the procedure you will swallow a
thin, flexible, lighted tube called an
endoscope (EN-doh-skope). Right
before the procedure the physician will
spray your throat with a numbing agent
that may help prevent gagging. You may
also receive pain medicine and a sedative
to help you relax during the exam. The
endoscope transmits an image of the
inside of the esophagus, stomach, and
duodenum, so the physician can carefully
examine the lining of these organs. The
scope also blows air into the stomach;
this expands the folds of tissue and
makes it easier for the physician to
examine the stomach.

The physician can see abnormalities, like
inflammation or bleeding, through the
endoscope that don't show up well on x
rays. The physician can also insert
instruments into the scope to remove
samples of tissue (biopsy) for further
tests or treat bleeding abnormalities.

Possible complications of upper endoscopy include bleeding and puncture of the stomach
lining. However, such complications are rare. Most people will probably have nothing
more than a mild sore throat after the procedure.

The procedure takes 20 to 30 minutes. Because you will be sedated, you will need to rest
at the endoscopy facility for 1 to 2 hours until the medication wears off.


Your stomach and duodenum must be empty for the procedure to be thorough and safe, so
you will not be able to eat or drink anything for at least 6 hours beforehand. Also, you
must arrange for someone to take you home--you will not be allowed to drive because of
the sedatives. Your physician may give you other special instructions.

Printable upper endoscopy instructions