An upper endoscopy, often referred to as endoscopy, EGD, or esophagogastroduodenoscopy, is a procedure that allows Doctor Yoganathan to directly examine the upper part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract-stomach, and the duodenum (the first section of the small intestine).
This procedure is used to visually examine the upper digestive system and treat health conditions that affect the esophagus, stomach and small intestine.
Doctor Yoganathan performs the procedure and has special training in using an endoscope to examine the upper GI system, looking for inflammation (redness, irritation), bleeding, ulcers, stomach pain, or tumours.

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Reasons For An Upper Endoscopy

If you are feeling discomfort in your stomach, nausea, abdominal pain or bleeding, or have difficulty swallowing or vomiting an upper endoscopy could be an option in investigating these symptoms. It is important to examine these symptoms with the help of a doctor to ensure the health of your digestive system and to receive accurate health information. The most common reasons for upper endoscopy include:

  • Treatment for unexplained discomfort or pain in areas around the upper abdomen.
  • GORD or gastro-esophageal reflux diseases (often called heartburn or chest pain).
  • Persistent nausea and vomiting (at times during the night)
  • Emerging throat and stomach issues such as esophageal varices or other diseases.
  • Weight loss options.
  • Upper gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding (vomiting blood or blood found in the stool that originated from the upper part of the GI tract). Bleeding can be treated during the endoscopy.
  • Difficulty swallowing; food/liquids getting stuck in the esophagus during swallowing. This may be caused by a narrowing (stricture) or tumour or because the esophagus is not contracting properly. If there is a stricture, it can often be dilated with special balloons or dilation tubes during the endoscopy.
  • Abnormal or unclear findings on an upper GI x-ray, CT scan, or MRI.
  • Removal of a foreign body (a swallowed object) in the stomach.
  • To check healing or progress on previously found polyps (growths), tumours, or ulcers.

Endoscopy Preparation

You will be given specific instructions regarding how to prepare for the examination by your doctor before the procedure. These instructions are designed to maximise your safety during and after the examination and to minimise possible complications. It is important to read the instructions ahead of time and follow them carefully.

Do not hesitate to call the doctor’s office or the endoscopy facility if you have questions or concerns. You may be asked not to eat or drink anything for up to eight hours before the test. It is important for your stomach to be empty to allow the endoscopist to visualise the entire area and to decrease the possibility of food or fluid being vomited into the lungs while under sedation (called aspiration).

What to Expect During Endoscopy

Prior to the endoscopy, the staff will review your medical and surgical history, including current medications, current blood pressure and if you have a low/high heart rate. A physician will explain the procedure and ask you to sign a consent form. Before signing consent, you should understand all the benefits and risks of the procedure and should have all of your questions answered. An intravenous line (a needle inserted into a vein in the hand or arm) will be inserted to deliver medications.

You may be given a combination of a sedative (to help you relax) and a narcotic (to prevent discomfort), or other medications that are commonly used for sedation. Although most patients are sedated for the examination, many tolerate the procedure well without any medication or discomfort while the procedure is underway. An endoscopy treatment is an outpatient procedure, meaning you will be in and out of your treatments within the day. However, it is recommended that you rest for a day or two after your procedure as you could feel lingering effects for days after.

The Endoscopy Procedure

Endoscopy procedures typically take between 10 and 20 minutes to complete. The endoscopy is performed while you lie comfortably on your left side or back. Your doctor will usually give you medication to numb the throat (either a gargle or a spray) and a plastic mouth guard to put between the teeth to prevent damage to the teeth and endoscope. The endoscope (also called a gastroscope) is a long, flexible tube that is about the size of a finger. The endoscope has a lens at one part of the tube and a video camera at the other tip with a light source that allows the endoscopist to see the inner lining of the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract, usually on a TV monitor.

The examination usually begins with the endoscope being gently inserted through the mouth, into the oesophagus, making its way into the stomach and small intestine (duodenum). This is done with little disruption or discomfort. Your doctor may collect biopsies or tissue samples to test for conditions or diseases relating to inflammation, diarrhoea or anaemia in the digestive system. An endoscopy is sometimes combined with other treatments, such as an ultrasound to visualise images of the wall of your oesophagus or stomach. An endoscope will allow your doctor to use devices and tools called narrow-band imaging, which utilises a special light that assists in detecting precancerous conditions.

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Recovery from Endoscopy

Once completed, you will be observed for a period of time after surgery, generally less than one hour, while you recover from the sedative medication. Doctors commonly use these medicines and can sometimes leave people feeling temporarily tired. Due to this, you typically will be instructed not to drive and not to return to work for the rest of the day after your procedure.

The most common discomfort after the treatment or examination is a feeling of bloating as a result of the air introduced during the examination which usually resolves quickly. Some patients also have a mild sore throat from disruption in the oesophagus and stomach but are able to eat food and drink shortly after the examination.

Endoscopy Complications

Upper endoscopy is a safe procedure and complications are very rare. Doctor Yoganathan will advise you with regards to any potential complications with your diagnosis.

After Upper Endoscopy

Most patients tolerate endoscopy very well and feel fine afterwards with no side effects to their health and have no more business with endoscopy treatments. Some patients experience fatigue which is common after the examination, and you should plan to take it easy and relax the rest of the day.

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