This procedure is performed by a gastroenterologist and uses a small, flexible, viewing tube (endoscope), inserted through the mouth, to view the organs of the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract including: the stomach, esophagus and duodenum (top portion of small intestine).
EGD is used to evaluate possible problems with the upper GI and evaluate possible symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, reflux, dysphagia and anemia. This procedure is more effective than a x-ray and has the added advantage of being able to perform biopsy (removal of tissue samples) and cytology (removal of cell samples). During EGD, the endoscope can also be used to perform other minor procedures such as stretching of narrowed areas (strictures), removal of polyps or accidentally swallowed objects, or treatment of GI bleeding.
Before the procedure, the throat may be sprayed with a numbing solution and a mild sedative and pain reliever may be administered. Discomfort is minimal and most patients sleep right through the procedure.
After the EGD is done, there is a possibility that you may feel a light sore throat or distention. These symptoms will go away after a few hours. You can resume your normal diet after a few hours as well. Once the medications have worn off, which takes a few hours, you will be allowed to go home with a driver. Because sedatives are administered, patients are not allowed to drive themselves home and are required to have driver. It is recommended that you do not drive or operate machinery for the rest of the day following this procedure.
Complications from EGD are rare. They include: irritation of vein used to administer sedatives or medication, reaction to sedative or medication administered, complications resulting from pre-existing heart/lung/liver conditions, bleeding at site or biopsy or poly removal (bleeding would be minimal and rarely requires surgery or transfusion), or perforation (which is also very rare, but would require surgery to repair). Be sure to discuss any pre-existing medical conditions or health concerns with your physician before the procedure in order to reduce complications.
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