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Upper GI Endoscopy

Upper GI Endoscopy


This treatment page will give you information about an upper GI endoscopy. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.

What is an upper GI endoscopy?


An upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy is a procedure to look at the inside of the oesophagus (gullet), stomach and duodenum using a flexible telescope (see figure1). This procedure is sometimes known as a gastroscopy.

Upper GI Endoscopy

Are there any alternatives to an upper GI endoscopy?


A barium meal is an x-ray test of the upper digestive system. A urea breath test can be used to detect a germ (helicobacter pylori) that can cause stomach ulcers.

What does the procedure involve?


An upper GI endoscopy usually takes about ten minutes. If appropriate, the endoscopist may offer you a sedative to help you relax. The endoscopist will place a flexible telescope (endoscope) into the back of your throat and down into your stomach. From here the endoscope will pass on into your duodenum.

The endoscopist will be able to look for problems in these organs such as inflammation or ulcers. They will be able to perform biopsies and take photographs to help make the diagnosis.

What complications can happen?


  • Sore throat
  • Allergic reaction
  • Breathing difficulties or heart irregularities
  • Infection
  • Making a hole in the oesophagus, stomach or duodenum
  • Damage to teeth or bridgework
  • Bleeding 
  • Incomplete procedure

How soon will I recover?


If you were given sedation, you will normally recover in about an hour. You may feel a bit bloated for a few hours but this will pass.

A member of the team will tell you what was found during the endoscopy and will discuss with you any treatment or follow-up you need. You should be able to go back to work the day after the endoscopy.

Summary


An upper GI endoscopy is usually a safe and effective way of finding out if you have a problem with the upper part of your digestive system.

Acknowledgements


Author: Mr Simon Parsons DM FRCS (Gen. Surg.)

Illustrations: Medical Illustration Copyright © 2011 Nucleus Medical Art. All rights reserved. www.nucleusinc.com

This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.


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