What is an Upper GI Endoscopy?

An upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (upper GI endoscopy) , also called an upper endoscopy , is a procedure used to visually examine your upper digestive system. This is done with the help of a tiny camera on the end of a long, flexible tube. This tube is inserted down the patient’s throat and into the esophagus. A tiny camera on the end of the endoscope lets the doctor examine your esophagus, stomach and the beginning of small intestine, called the duodenum.

Who performs the Upper GI endoscopy?

A specialist in diseases of the digestive system (Medical Gastroenterologist) uses an endoscopy to diagnose and sometimes treat conditions that affect the upper part of the digestive system.

Why Endoscopy is done?
An upper endoscopy is used for both diagnostic and therapeutic purpose, that is to diagnose what is wrong, and sometimes treat conditions that affect the upper part of the digestive system. The upper digestive system includes the esophagus, stomach and beginning of the small intestine (duodenum). Your doctor may recommend an endoscopy procedure to:
  • Investigate symptoms.An endoscopy can help determine what’s causing digestive signs and symptoms, such as heartburn, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing and gastrointestinal bleeding.
  • An endoscopy offers an opportunity to collect tissue samples (biopsy) to test for infections, diseases and conditions that may be causing anemia, bleeding, inflammation or diarrhea. It can also detect some cancers of the upper digestive system.
  • Special tools can be passed through the endoscope to treat problems in your digestive system. For example, an endoscopy can be used to burn a bleeding vessel to stop bleeding, widen a narrow esophagus, clip off a polyp or remove a foreign object.
Is endoscopy a painful procedure?

No, endoscopy is not painful. There will be apprehension among the patients, about the scope going through their mouth, with them being awake or with mild sedation. Usually, before the procedure, patient’s mouth is sprayed with a local anaesthetic which will make it numb for a brief period, and during that period the endoscope is inserted and procedure is carried out

How long does the Endoscopy procedure take?

Diagnostic procedures are very brisk, usually under experienced hands it is done within 10-15 minutes. If there is any biopsy to be done, it might take a bit longer (2-3 minutes more).

How you prepare for Endoscopy?

Fast before the endoscopy. You’ll typically need to stop eating solid food for eight hours and stop drinking liquids for four hours before your endoscopy. This is to ensure your stomach is empty for the procedure.

Stop taking certain medications. You’ll need to stop taking certain blood-thinning medications in the days before your endoscopy, if possible. Blood thinners may increase your risk of bleeding if certain procedures are performed during the endoscopy. If you have ongoing conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure, your provider will give you specific instructions regarding your medications.

During an endoscopy

During an upper endoscopy procedure, you’ll be asked to lie down on a table on your back or on your side. As the procedure gets underway:

You can’t talk after the endoscope passes down your throat, though you can make noises. The endoscope doesn’t interfere with your breathing.

As the endoscope travels down your esophagus:

When the exam is finished, the endoscope is slowly retracted through your mouth. An endoscopy typically takes 10-15 minutes.

After the endoscopy

You’ll be taken to a recovery area to sit or lie quietly after your endoscopy. You may stay for an hour or so. During this time, your health care team can monitor you as the sedative begins to wear off.


If no sedative has been used, usually patients can eat food once the throat numbness wears off.


Once you’re at home, you may experience some mildly uncomfortable symptoms after endoscopy, such as:

These signs and symptoms will improve with time. If you’re concerned or quite uncomfortable, call your health care provider.


Take it easy for the rest of the day after your endoscopy.