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Upper Endoscopy (EGD)

What is an Upper Endoscopy (EGD)?

Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) is the medical term for an upper endoscopy. You have likely heard the medical terminology EGD, endoscopy, and colonoscopy used with no explanation. 

So what is the difference between EGD vs colonoscopy? 

Unlike a colonoscopy, an esophagogastroduodenoscopy procedure allows the doctor to look at parts of your upper gastrointestinal tract, including the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. 

What about EGD vs endoscopy? What is the difference?

Endoscopy is traditionally a general term meant to encompass GI procedures as a whole, but most commonly is used to refer to an upper endoscopy.

The esophagogastroduodenoscopy procedure utilizes a thin scope with a light and a camera attached called an endoscope. This tool allows the doctor to look through the upper digestive system of the esophagus, stomach, and the first portion of the small intestine. The endoscope enters through the esophagus and then moves through the mouth and down the throat. The endoscope may include a biopsy tool to scrape tissue to be examined for anomalies under a microscope. 

Risks & Benefits

Upper endoscopies investigate several occurrences such as the cause of heartburn, the occurrence of Hiatal hernias, the cause of abdominal pain, unexplained anemia, the cause of swallowing problems, upper GI bleeding, and the presence of tumors or ulcers.

Severe complications are unlikely from this procedure. There is a slight risk of a hole emerging from the scope passing through these areas in the stomach, duodenum, or esophagus. The risk of minor bleeding at the biopsy site is also present.

What to Expect

You will need to have an empty stomach before your procedure. On the day of your upper endoscopy, the doctor will ask you not to eat or drink after midnight. Additionally, if you take some blood-thinning drug, your physician may recommend that you stop using it for 3-5 days before the procedure. 

Generally, the procedure only takes 5 to 10 minutes. To help you relax and tolerate any pain, anesthesiology will administer medication via a vein before the procedure begins. The procedure will start with you lying on your left side. The scope will be passed through your mouth into the throat, stomach, and small intestine. Should the physician encounter an anomaly, they may take a biopsy sample and can use medicine or heat treatment to stop any potential bleeding. Your breathing will not be restricted by the instrument used for the operation.

You can experience some bloating during and after the procedure due to air being introduced through the endoscope. Esophagogastroduodenoscopy aftercare is minimal and, unless advised otherwise by your physician, you may resume your normal diet following the procedure. After the upper endoscopy, your throat can feel scratchy or sore, but this sensation often subsides quickly. Your physician will take the time to discuss any abnormal findings. Due to the use of anesthesia during the upper endoscopy, patients may feel a little woozy for some time after the procedure. Patients are expected to have a licensed driver to take them back home. 

Forms & Preparation

To access copies of all the documents you may need before your colonoscopy, please click below.

New Patient Forms