Open Accessibility Menu

Upper Endoscopy/EGD

The general surgeons at St. John’s Health are accustomed to diagnosing and treating many different digestive tract conditions. Upper endoscopy (EGD) is a diagnostic test in which a doctor looks at the patient’s upper digestive tract, including the esophagus, stomach, and the first portion of the small intestine. EGD is more accurate than X-rays and other imaging techniques in detecting abnormal growths while examining the upper GI tract. EGD is used to evaluate heartburn/acid reflux, upper abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, stomach bleeding, and swallowing disorders. It can also help identify inflammation, tumors, and ulcers.

There are many reasons a doctor would order an EGD test, and you will be informed of what your doctor is checking for and how an EGD is the most effective tool to diagnose your suspected condition.

How Does an EGD Work?

The EGD procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, but sometimes it is done in emergencies to identify and treat bleeding of the upper GI tract. The physician uses a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope through the digestive tract to check for any abnormalities or changes. The endoscope has a small camera attached at one end so your doctor can visualize the internal structures. The EGD begins once you are in a hospital gown and have an IV needle placed to administer fluids and medications and you are ready for the procedure. You will lie on your right side during the EGD, and a local anesthetic will be sprayed into your mouth to numb it and reduce gagging. Once you feel sleepy from anesthetic medication, your doctor will place the endoscope down the esophagus.

Tissue samples may be collected for biopsy, or to remove abnormal growths called polyps. Most EGD exams take about 15 to 30 minutes to complete, and you will be under conscious sedation during the procedure to keep you comfortable.

Learn more about general surgery at St. John’s Health.