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Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

An upper gastrointestinal (UGI) endoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to look at the inside lining of your esophagus camera.gif, your stomach, and the first part of your small intestine (duodenum camera.gif). A thin, flexible viewing tool called an endoscope (scope) is used. The tip of the scope is inserted through your mouth and then gently moved down your throat into the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (upper gastrointestinal tract).

This procedure is sometimes called esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD).

Using the scope, your doctor can look for ulcers, inflammation, tumors, infection, or bleeding. He or she can collect tissue samples (biopsy), remove polyps, and treat bleeding through the scope. Your doctor may find problems that do not show up on X-ray tests.

This test can sometimes prevent the need for exploratory surgery.

Why It Is Done

An upper gastrointestinal (UGI) endoscopy camera.gif may be done to:

  • Find problems in the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract. These problems can include:
  • Find the cause of vomiting blood.
  • Find the cause of symptoms, such as upper belly pain or bloating, trouble swallowing (dysphagia), vomiting, or unexplained weight loss.
  • Find the cause of an infection.
  • Check the healing of stomach ulcers.
  • Look at the inside of the stomach and upper small intestine (duodenum) after surgery.
  • Look for a blockage in the opening between the stomach and duodenum.

Endoscopy may also be done to:

  • Check for an injury to the esophagus in an emergency. (For example, this may be done if the person has swallowed poison.)
  • Collect tissue samples (biopsy) to be looked at in the lab.
  • Remove growths (polyps) from inside the esophagus, stomach, or small intestine.
  • Treat upper GI bleeding that may be causing anemia.
  • Remove foreign objects that have been swallowed.

How To Prepare

Before having an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, tell your doctor if you:

  • Are allergic to any medicines, including anesthetics.
  • Are taking any medicines.
  • Have bleeding problems or take blood-thinning medicine, such as warfarin (Coumadin).
  • Have heart problems.
  • Are or might be pregnant.
  • Have diabetes and take insulin.
  • Have had surgery or radiation treatments to your esophagus, your stomach, or the upper part of your small intestine.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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