Endoscopy is a diagnostic test that lets your doctor look inside your body and examine the lining of your esophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine (duodenum) using a scope-like instrument called an endoscope. The scope has a tiny light and lens attached to a long, thin tube that produces images your doctor can see on a video monitor. You may also hear this test referred to as an upper GI endoscopy, an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), or a panendoscopy.
A diagnostic EGD allows your doctor to look at the inside of your upper digestive tract if you have symptoms such as persistent pain, nausea, vomiting, local bleeding, or difficulty swallowing. The test is better than x-rays for finding inflammation, ulcerations, and tumors. In addition to what can be seen, your doctor can take a small tissue sample (biopsy) or cells (cytology) to send for an examination in the laboratory to distinguish if an abnormal growth is benign or malignant (cancerous). An endoscopy may also be done to deliver treatment with little discomfort for you for a problem located in the upper digestive tract. For example, a polyp can be removed, a narrowed passageway can be widened, or local bleeding can be stopped.
It is safest to have an empty stomach during the procedure. Do not eat or drink anything – including water – after midnight on the night before a morning procedure. Your doctor or nurse will give you specific instructions if they wish to change this routine. Tell your doctor or nurse about any medications you take before the day of the test, if possible. You may have to adjust your dose. Also tell your doctor or nurse about any allergies you have, including medications and foods. If you usually have to take an antibiotic prior to getting any dental work done, be sure to tell your doctor or nurse – you may need antibiotics before this test.
For any questions during office hours, please call your doctor. For evening and weekend questions, please call the switchboard at (716) 845-2300 and ask for the Upper GI doctor on call.