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Digestive Problems and Upper Endoscopy

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What Happens During an Upper Endoscopy?

Before your doctor performs an upper endoscopy, he or she will explain the procedure in detail, including possible complications and side effects. The doctor will also answer any questions you may have.

  • You will be asked to wear a hospital gown and to remove your eyeglasses and dentures.
  • A local anesthetic (pain-relieving medication) may be applied at the back of your throat.
  • You will be given a pain reliever and a sedative intravenously (in your vein) to help you relax and make you feel drowsy.
  • A mouthpiece will be placed in your mouth.
  • You will lie on your left side during the procedure.
  • The doctor will insert the endoscope into your mouth, through your esophagus (the "food pipe" leading from your mouth into your stomach) and into your stomach.

Most procedures take 15 to 20 minutes.

What Happens After the Upper Endoscopy?

After an upper endoscopy:

  • You will stay in a recovery room for about 30 minutes for observation.
  • You may feel a temporary soreness in your throat. Lozenges may help.
  • The doctor who performed the endoscopy will send the test results to your primary or referring doctor.
  • The specialist or your primary health care provider will discuss the results with you after the procedure. If the results indicate that prompt medical attention is needed, the necessary arrangements will be made and your referring health care provider will be notified.

Warning About Upper Endoscopy

If you have severe abdominal pain, a continuous cough or fever, chills, chest pain, nausea, or vomiting within 72 hours after an upper endoscopy, call your doctor's office right away or go to the emergency room.

Is Endoscopy Safe?

Serious risks with an endoscopy are rare. However, excessive bleeding is always a possibility and rarely a tear in the esophagus or stomach wall can occur.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on September 04, 2014
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