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An esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) or "upper GI" is an endoscopic procedure that allows gastroenterologists to view, take samples from, and treat disorders of the esophagus, stomach and the duodenum (part of the small intestine). An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube that holds microscopic instruments and a miniature camera, which sends images to a video monitor.

An EGD is a common upper gastrointestinal tract procedure in patients who have difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), nausea or vomiting, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Barrett's esophagus, pain in the upper abdomen or chest, or bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract. An endoscopic procedure is considered more precise than X-rays in diagnosing disorders of the upper gastrointestinal tract.

The EGD Procedure

After you receive a mild sedative, your gastroenterologist will carefully maneuver the endoscope down your esophagus and throughout the upper gastrointestinal tract while viewing pictures on a video monitor. Several different instruments can be passed through the endoscope, including brushes to take cell samples and miniaturized surgical instruments. Sometimes air is introduced through the endoscope, which allows the gastroenterologist to better view individual structures being studied.

The procedure may take 30 to 45 minutes, or longer if endoscopic surgery is performed. Because esophagogastroduodenoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure, you will be able to return to normal activities the following day. You may experience some mild discomfort in the throat for several days, and may have bloating or flatulence over the next 24 hours from the air introduced into the upper GI tract.