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Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

How It Is Done

A gastrointestinal endoscopy camera.gif may be done in a doctor's office, a clinic, or a hospital. An overnight stay in the hospital usually is not needed. The test is most often performed by a doctor who specializes in problems of the digestive system (gastroenterologist). The doctor may also have an assistant. Some family medicine doctors, internists, and surgeons are also trained to do endoscopy.

Before the procedure, blood tests may be done to check for a low blood count or clotting problems. Your throat may be numbed with an anesthetic spray, gargle, or lozenge to relax your gag reflex and make it easier to insert the endoscope into your throat.

During the test, you may receive a pain medicine and a sedative through an intravenous (IV) line in your arm or hand. These medicines reduce pain and will make you feel relaxed and drowsy during the test. You may not remember much about the actual test.

You will be asked to lie on your left side with your head bent slightly forward. A mouth guard may be placed in your mouth to protect your teeth from the endoscope. Then the lubricated tip of the endoscope will be guided into your mouth, and your doctor may gently press your tongue out of the way. You may be asked to swallow to help move the tube along. It is helpful to remember that the instrument is no thicker than many foods you swallow and will not cause problems with breathing.

Once the endoscope is in your esophagus, your head will be tilted upright. This makes it easier for the scope to slide down your esophagus. During the procedure, try not to swallow unless requested to. An assistant may remove the saliva from your mouth with a suction device, or you can allow the saliva to drain from the side of your mouth.

Your doctor will slowly move the endoscope while looking through an eyepiece or watching on a video monitor to examine the walls of your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Air or water may be injected through the scope to help clear a path for the scope or to clear its lens, and suction may be applied to remove air or secretions.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 30, 2013
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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