What is an Upper Endoscopy?

An upper endoscopy is an outpatient procedure whereby the gastroenterologist examines the esophagus and the rest of the upper digestive system.

In many cases, this procedure allows the gastroenterologist to identify the causes of heartburn, nausea, abdominal or chest pain and swallowing disorders. An endoscopy procedure can also help identify the presence of ulcers and tumors.


An endoscopy requires that you have an empty stomach before the procedure. Do not eat any solid food for 8 hours before the procedure. You may drink clear liquids up until 2 hours before the procedure.

During the Procedure

In all cases, anesthesia will be administered via intravenous (IV) fluids prior to the procedure. An anesthesiologist will be present to monitor the patient’s vital signs and to ensure the proper dosage.

During the procedure, the gastroenterologist uses a long, thin, flexible instrument called an endoscope to examine the upper digestive system.

Once the procedure is completed, the anesthesiologist will slowly wake the patent by reducing anesthesia. In most cases, the patient does not remember any of the procedure.

There are several advantages in performing an endoscopy over a traditional x-ray. An endoscopy affords the gastroenterologist the ability to visually scan the system for abnormalities. The endoscope can be used to identify and remove polyps, biopsy suspected growths, treat sources of bleeding, and remove foreign objects. It can also be used stretching narrowed areas of the upper digestive system.

After the Procedure

Following the procedure, the patient will stay in a recovery room for observation until they are ready for discharge.

If the patient is given anesthesia, a responsible adult must provide transportation. The patient should not drive or operate machinery for at least 8 hours.

Before the patient leaves, the gastroenterologist will review their findings. He may also provide prescriptions if they are required. The GI nurse will provide written instructions for the patient to follow as well as other information regarding digestive health.

If you have any questions, or if you experience any continuing discomfort from your procedure, please contact our office.