A local anesthetic may be sprayed into your mouth to prevent you from coughing or gagging when the scope is inserted. A mouth guard is used to protect your teeth and the scope. Dentures must be removed before the procedure begins.
You then lie on your left side.
The scope is inserted through the esophagus (food pipe) to the stomach and duodenum. Air is put through the scope to make it easier for the doctor to see.
The lining of the esophagus, stomach, and upper duodenum is examined. Biopsies can be taken through the scope. Biopsies are tissue samples that are looked at under the microscope.
Different treatments may be done, such as stretching or widening a narrowed area of the esophagus.
After the test is finished, you will not be able to have food and liquid until your gag reflex returns (so you do not choke).
The test lasts about 5 to 20 minutes.
How to Prepare for the Test
You will not be able to eat anything for 6 to 12 hours before the test. Follow instructions about stopping aspirin and other blood-thinning medicines before the test.
How the Test will Feel
The anesthetic spray makes it hard to swallow. This wears off shortly after the procedure. The scope may make you gag.
You may feel gas and the movement of the scope in your abdomen. You will not be able to feel the biopsy. Because of sedation, you may not feel any discomfort and have no memory of the test.
You may feel bloated from the air that was put into your body. This feeling soon wears off.
Why the Test is Performed
EGD may be done if you have symptoms that are new, cannot be explained, or are not responding to treatment, such as:
Vargo JJ. Preparation for and complications of GI endoscopy. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 41.
Subodh K. Lal, MD, gastroenterologist at Gastrointestinal Specialists of Georgia, Austell, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.