An upper endoscopy is also known as an Upper GI endoscopy, esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) or pan endoscopy. An upper endoscopy enables your physician to examine the lining of the upper part of your gastrointestinal tract which includes the esophagus (swallowing tube), stomach, and duodenum (first portion of the small intestine). It involves the use of a thin, flexible tube with its own lens and light source to see the inside of the GI tract.
An upper endoscopy is more accurate than x-ray films for detecting inflammation, ulcers or tumors of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. Upper endoscopy can detect early cancer and can distinguish between benign and malignant (cancerous) conditions when biopsies (small tissue samples) of suspicious areas are obtained. Biopsies are taken for many reasons and do not necessarily mean that cancer is suspected. A cytology test (introduction to a small brush to collect cells) may also be performed.
An upper endoscopy is usually performed to evaluate symptoms of persistent upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or difficulty swallowing. It is also the best test for finding the cause of bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract.
Upper endoscopy is also used to treat conditions present in the upper gastrointestinal tract. A variety of instruments can be passed through the endoscopy that allow many abnormalities to be treated directly with little or no discomfort. For example, stretching narrowed areas, removing polyps (usually benign growths) or swallowed objects, or treating upper gastrointestinal bleeding. Safe and effective endoscopic control of bleeding has reduced the need for transfusions and surgery in many patients.
Harford GI patients who need hospital based care are scheduled for procedures at the Upper Chesapeake Medical Center.
Patients not requiring hospital based care are scheduled for procedures at our sister practice, the Harford Endoscopy Center, an AMSURG-affiliated ambulatory surgery center for colonoscopy and EGD procedures on an outpatient basis.