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Endoscopy Procedures

Also known as esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD, endoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that allows the physician to diagnose and treat problems in the upper gastrointestinal (UGI) tract. The physician uses a long, flexible, lighted tube called an endoscope. The endoscope is guided through the patient's mouth and throat, then through the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (first part of the small intestine). An endoscopy procedure allows the physician to examine the inside of these organs and detect abnormalities. A video camera in the endoscope transmits images to a TV-like monitor.

Reasons for an Endoscopy Procedure

An endoscopy procedure may be performed to diagnose structural or functional abnormalities of the esophagus, stomach and/or duodenum. These abnormalities may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
  • Weight loss or anorexia (loss of appetite)
  • Upper abdominal pain or chest pain of a noncardiac origin
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Intractable vomiting (continuous vomiting from an unknown cause)
  • Strictures (narrowing) or obstructions
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding and esophageal varices (enlarged veins in the esophagus)
  • Inflammation and ulcers
  • Tumors (benign or malignant)
  • Hiatal hernia – upward movement of the stomach, either into or alongside the esophagus
  • Damage caused by ingestion of caustic substances (chemicals such as lye and household detergents)

In addition to performing visual examination of the UGI tract with the endoscope, the physician can insert instruments through the endoscope to perform various endoscopy procedures such as:

  • obtain tissue samples for a biopsy
  • obtain gastrointestinal fluid samples
  • remove foreign objects
  • remove tumors or polyps (growths)
  • dilate areas in the upper GI tract (e.g., esophagus)
  • instill air or fluid
  • control bleeding
  • perform endoscopic surgery, laser therapy or dilatation (opening up)
  • place a percutaneous gastrostomy tube for tube feeding into the stomach
  • evaluate the stomach and duodenum after a surgery

There may be other reasons for your physician to recommend an endoscopy procedure.