Endoscopy is a broad term used to described examining the inside of the body using an lighted, flexible instrument called an endoscope. In general, an endoscope is introduced into the body through a natural opening like the mouth or anus.
Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Upper endoscopy is a procedure that enables the examiner (usually a
gastroenterologist) to examine the esophagus (swallowing tube), stomach, and
duodenum (first portion of small bowel) using a thin, flexible tube called the
upper endoscope through which the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum can be viewed using a TV monitor.
To accomplish a safe and complete examination, the stomach should be empty. The patient will most likely be asked to have nothing to eat or drink for six hours or more prior to the procedure.
Prior to scheduling the procedure, the patient should inform his or her physician of any medications
being taken, any allergies, and all known health problems. This information will
help the doctor determine whether the patient may need antibiotics prior to the procedure,
and what potential medications should not be used during the exam because of the patient's allergies.
The information will provide the individual scheduling the procedure an opportunity to instruct the patient whether any of the medications should be held or adjusted prior to the endoscopy.
Knowledge whether the patient has any major health problems, such as heart or lung diseases, will alert the examiner of possible need for special attention during the procedure.
Why have you been scheduled for an endoscopy?
Upper endoscopy usually is performed to evaluate possible problems with the esophagus, stomach or duodenum, and evaluate symptoms such as upper abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, difficulty in swallowing,
or intestinal bleeding anemia. Upper endoscopy is more accurate than X-ray for detecting inflammation or smaller abnormalities such as ulcers or tumors within the reach of the instrument. Its other major advantage over X-ray is the ability to perform biopsies (obtain small pieces of tissue) or cytology (obtain some cells with a fine brush) for microscopic examination to determine the nature of the abnormality and whether
any abnormality is benign or malignant (cancerous).
Biopsies are taken for many reasons and may not mean that cancer is suspected. Upper endoscopy also can be used to treat many conditions within its reach. The endoscope's channels permit passage of accessory instruments enabling the examiner to treat many of the conditions such as stretching areas of narrowing (strictures), removal of benign growths such as polyps,
retrieving accidentally swallowed objects, or treating upper gastrointestinal bleeding, as seen in ulcers tears of the lining. These capabilities have markedly reduced the need for transfusions or surgery.