Upper Endoscopy

What is upper endoscopy?
Upper endoscopy involves the use of a camera installed on the tip of a thin long tube and enables the physician to view the inside lining of the upper digestive tract. The camera is inserted through the mouth and allows visualization of the esophagus, stomach, and the duodenum, which is the first portion of the small intestine. The procedure is typically performed when a patient is suffering from:
  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Nausea
  • Ulcers
  • Swallowing Disorders
  • Bloating
This advanced endoscopic technique, which is performed while the patient is sedated, helps the physician identify abnormalities that may exist within the digestive tract.

How to prepare for an upper endoscopy?
In order to undergo an upper endoscopy the patient will be instructed to fast anywhere from 4-12 hours before the procedure takes place. This will allow for better visualization of the upper gastrointestinal tract, and will reduce the chance of complications related to residual food in the stomach while the patient is sedated.

Intravenous sedation is typically the best way to ensure a smooth and comfortable procedure. This is a form of mild anesthesia given to patients undergoing brief non-surgical procedures. After completion of the sedation, the patient may still feel slightly sleepy or uncoordinated, which is why patients are required to have a friend or family member drive them home.

The following medications should generally not be taken before your procedure:
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. Ibuprofen, Motrin, Alieve)
  • Aspirin
  • Blood thinners
  • Sedatives or narcotics
It is important for patients to inform their physician if they routinely take the above medications, or any other substances which may interfere with the endoscopic evaluation.

What to expect during an upper endoscopy?
Endoscopic evaluations that are currently performed are considered very safe outpatient procedures. Endoscopy is typically performed at a hospital or procedure center where proper safety and monitoring equipment are available. Dr. Khorrami may first numb the back of your throat with a special type of topical anesthetic. Mild sedation is then administered through the use of an intravenous needle that is placed in the arm. For the duration of the procedure, you will lie on your left side while the endoscope is carefully maneuvered through your upper digestive tract. If needed, air may be pumped through the endoscope to inflate the stomach allowing the physician to view the lining with greater precision.

If necessary, Dr. Khorrami will remove any abnormal growths that are detected during the procedure. He may also opt to take a biopsy, which is a small tissue sample that is taken from the area in question.

What to expect after an upper endoscopy?
Once the procedure is over, you will be taken to a recovery room to allow the sedative to wear off. During this recovery, you may feel groggy, or note mild bloating, cramps, or a sore throat. These symptoms are usually brief in duration and do not require any specific treatment. These recovery issues make it necessary for the patient to arrange for a ride home after the procedure. Patients typically resume all their normal daily activities the following day.

Are there any complications from an upper endoscopy?
Complications from endoscopy are rare but may arise from the sedation portion of the examination or from the procedure itself. These rare possibilities include anesthesia reactions, bleeding, infection, or gut perforation. If you experience significant swallowing difficulties, worsening abdominal pain, vomiting, dark or bloody stools, or fever after the procedure, then you should contact your physician as soon as possible.

Discuss Your Options with Dr. Khorrami
Dr. Khorrami has been in practice since 1996 as a double-board certified gastroenterologist, has experienced a variety of patient cases, and is well trained to solve your digestive problems. Get in touch to learn more about an upper endoscopy procedure and how you can benefit from it.

Source contains material from the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC).


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About Dr. Khorrami

Dr. Payman Khorrami is a UCLA graduate, has been in practice since 1996, and is double board certified. Undergraduate Education at University of California, Berkeley, Medical School at University of California, San Francisco, Internal Medicine Training at University of California, San Diego Read Full Bio