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Human Digestive System
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Upper Endoscopy

Upper endoscopy is a routine, outpatient procedure in which the inside of the upper digestive system is examined. During the procedure, a physician uses an endoscope,a long, thin, flexible instrument about 1/2 inch in diameter, to examine the inside of the upper digestive system.

The procedure is commonly used to help identify the causes of:

  • Abdominal or chest pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Bleeding
  • Swallowing disorders

Endoscopy can also help identify inflammation, ulcers and tumors.

Upper endoscopy is more accurate than x-rays for detecting abnormal growths and for examining the inside of the upper digestive system. The improved accuracy is especially important if you have had upper-digestive-tract surgery in the past.

Abnormalities that can be treated through the endoscope include:

  • Polyps (usually benign growths) can be identified and removed.
  • Tissue samples (biopsies) can be taken for analysis.
  • Bleeding from the upper digestive system can be treated.

Procedures such as stretching narrowed areas or removing swallowed objects can also be performed with the endoscope.

How do I prepare?

An endoscopy requires that you have an empty stomach before the procedure. Do not eat any solid food for 8 hours before the procedure. You may drink clear liquids up until 2 hours before the procedure. Clear liquids include clear broth, hard candy, plain jello, black coffee, black tea, apple juice, ginger ale, 7 UP, colas, Kool-Aid, Gatorade, Hi-C and popsicles.

What happens during and after the procedure?

During the procedure, with the patient lying on his/her left side, the physician places a mouthpiece in the patient’s mouth. The physician then inserts an endoscope into the mouth, through the esophagus and into the stomach. The mouthpiece and endoscope do not interfere with breathing. The procedure last from 15-20 minutes.

Mild sedation is typically provided to relieve anxiety and discomfort, and a local anesthetic (pain relieving medication) may be applied to the back of your throat. For this reason, you will need to bring a responsible adult with you to accompany you home after the procedure. You should not drive or operate machinery for at least 8 hours after the procedure. The sedation given during the procedure causes drowsiness, dizziness and impairs your judgment, making it unsafe for you to drive or operate machinery.

Following the procedure, you may experience temporary soreness in your throat. This can usually be relieved with throat lozenges or ice.

 
       
 

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