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Anatomy of the Upper GI

Upper GI endoscopy allows the physician to look directly at the upper gastrointestinal tract, including the esophagus, stomach, and duodenal portion of the small intestine.

Upper GI endoscopy can diagnose ulcers, gastritis, tumors, and causes of bleeding or pain. It is also used for taking biopsy specimens, removing foreign objects (for example, coins in small children) or polyps, stopping bleeding, and opening strictures (narrow areas).

What happens during the exam?

  • You will wear comfortable clothes or a gown.

  • In the endoscopy room, you will be asked to lie on a table on your left side. The physician, a nurse, and a technician will be with you.

  • Your throat may be anesthetized with spray or gargle. Intravenous sedation will be given.

  • You will then be asked to swallow the endoscope, which is thinner than most food you swallow. This is surprisingly easy.

  • The endoscope does not interfere with your breathing.

  • The lights are lowered and the physician begins the examination. Air inserted during the procedure may cause you to burp.

  • When the procedure is completed, you will rest until the sedation wears off. Your pulse and blood pressure may be monitored during and after endoscopy.

How it works

The endoscope is composed of extremely thin threads of bendable glass, which transmit light and images back to the computer. The physician can therefore see the structures of the upper GI tract directly by looking at the Flat Screen Monitor, and make a diagnosis. By inserting special instruments, the physician can also take specimens or remove objects or polyps.

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Tell your doctor if. . . 

  • You are allergic to medications or anesthetics.

  • You take medications. 

  • You have heart or lung problems.

  • You are pregnant.

How long is it?

  • Endoscopy itself takes about 30 minutes. 

  • Allow time for arrival and 30-60 minutes for recovery.


  • Follow you doctor's instructions.

  • If an outpatient, have someone drive you home. 

  • Resume normal diet.

Special note

  • Complications are extremely rare. 

  • Burping helps to relieve a bloated feeling. 

  • You may have a sore throat for 24-36 hours.

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