Upper GI Endoscopy: Preparation and Recovery
Your doctor might prescribe an upper GI endoscopy as routine screening. Or to take a look at your upper GI tract following specific triggers or symptoms. The endoscopy procedure provides the doctor with a real-time visual image of your upper digestive system to confirm diagnoses or treat upper GI conditions.
The procedure is conducted in an outpatient surgery center or hospital. The endoscopy is minimally invasive with relatively simple preparation and recovery.
Unlike exams of the lower GI exam, preparation for an endoscopy is generally much easier. Your doctor will give you specific instructions for the days and hours leading up to your appointment. Instructions will depend on the specific plan. And if the procedure to diagnose or treat a condition. Usually, this involves nothing more than fasting four to eight hours before the procedure, including no more water.
Be sure to discuss all medications you are taking. Your doctor will give you a list of which ones to stop taking temporarily. You and your doctor will then discuss the type of anesthesia or sedative you want for the procedure.
You will be asked to lie on your side on a table in the procedure room. Once monitors are attached to your body, your sedative or anesthesia is introduced. Once comfortably and stably sedated, your doctor will insert the endoscope, a narrow tube with a small camera on the front, down your esophagus, and into your stomach. You should only feel pressure from the endoscope.
To see everything in your upper GI tract, the endoscope also feeds gentle air pressure to slightly inflate and move the internal structures away from the lens. The bloating and cramping from the air, are mild and generally need nothing more than observation.
Depending on the purpose of the procedure, the doctor may discuss the result with you as soon as you wake from sedation. But, if your doctor needs to collect a tissue sample (a biopsy), you may need to wait a few days for the result to return from the lab.