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Endoscopy is a simple, minimally-invasive procedure used to evaluate the upper portion of your gastrointestinal tract, specifically the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (the upper portion of the small intestine).
Endoscopies are typically performed to determine the cause of symptoms like abdominal pain, trouble swallowing or other issues affecting the upper portion of the digestive tract. Endoscopies can provide valuable information about the health of your upper GI tract, and when needed, tissue samples can be taken during the exam for further evaluation in a lab. Endoscopies are also used to perform some types of procedures.
Before your endoscopy, you'll need to fast for several hours to ensure the stomach and duodenum are free of food so they can be more easily visualized. Just before the procedure, a sedative will be administered to enable you to sleep during your procedure. Once the procedure begins, the endoscope will be passed through your mouth and move slowly through the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. A tiny light and camera attached to the scope enable pictures to be taken of the inside of your upper GI tract for further evaluation after your procedure. When an abnormal area of tissue is noted, a tiny sample or biopsy may be taken. Most endoscopies take about 30 to 45 minutes to perform.
Once the endoscopy is completed, you'll be taken to a recovery area for a brief period before being discharged. You may feel a little sleepy and you may have very mild irritation in your throat which will quickly resolve. Because you will have been sedated, you'll need to have someone drive you home. In most cases, you'll be able to eat right away.
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