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What is an EGD?

Esophagogastroduodenoscopy

An esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) is a procedure that allows your doctor to examine the inside of your upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract, using a thin, flexible instrument called an endoscope. The endoscope contains a light and camera that transmits pictures of the inside of your esophagus, stomach and upper intestine (duodenum) to a video screen.

The esophagus is a muscular tube located in the upper GI tract. It connects your mouth to your stomach. The duodenum follows the stomach and is the first section of your small intestine.

EGD can help your doctor find the reason for unexplained symptoms you may be having, such as difficulty swallowing, abdominal pain, vomiting blood, or heartburn. EGD helps diagnose diseases and disorders of the upper gastrointestinal tract, such as peptic ulcers. Doctors also use EGD to treat certain conditions, such as upper GI bleeding and removal of swallowed objects. EGD is also known as an upper GI endoscopy, gastroscopy, or upper endoscopy.

EGD is a minimally invasive procedure that is generally performed as an outpatient procedure. The procedure does not require an incision, and generally has a quick recovery and a very low risk of complications. EGD is only one method used to treat and diagnose conditions of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. Ask your doctor or healthcare provider about all of your options to understand which option is best for you.

Other procedures that may be performed

Your doctor may recommend one or more additional procedures during your EGD to diagnose or treat certain conditions. The following procedures may be performed during the EGD procedure:

  • Botulinum toxin injection into the lower esophageal sphincter to relieve difficulty swallowing due to hypertensive lower esophageal sphincter
  • Chromoendoscopy, which involves spraying dye into the esophagus to highlight abnormal tissue
  • Control of bleeding using electrocautery, injection or clips
  • Dilation of the esophagus or duodenum that is too narrow, often due to scar tissue
  • Endoscopic injection therapy, which is the application of medication that shrinks esophageal varices (enlarged veins in the esophagus that can bleed)
  • Fluorescence spectroscopy to identify abnormal tissue that may be cancerous
  • Foreign body removal, or removal of food or other object that is stuck in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Removal of polyps, which are abnormal growths that can become cancerous
  • Tissue biopsy, which involves removing samples of abnormal-looking intestinal tissues to be examined for disease or cancer
  • Variceal ligation for treatment of esophageal varices by tying them off with elastic bands
Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: May 6, 2013

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Medical References

Endoscopic Therapy May Offer An Alternative To Surgery In Patients With Esophageal Cancer. Science Daily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081006092650.htm. Accessed April 24, 2013.

Esophageal Cancer Screening. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/screening/esophageal/Patient/page3. Accessed April 24, 2013.
Esophageal Diagnostic Procedures. Thoracic Surgery Directors Association. http://www.ctsnet.org/doc/4270. Accessed April 24, 2013.
Upper Endoscopy. Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons. http://www.sages.org/publication/id/PI16/. Accessed April 24, 2013.
Photodynamic Therapy for Cancer. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Therapy/photodynamic. Accessed April 24, 2013.
Shaheen, N.J. et al. Radiofrequency Ablation in Barrett's Esophagus with Dysplasia. N Engl J Med 2009;360:2277-2288. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0808145#t=articleDiscussion.
Upper Endoscopy (EGD). University of Michigan Health System. http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/aha/umegd.htm. Accessed April 24, 2013.
Upper GI Endoscopy. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC). http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/upperendoscopy/. Accessed April 24, 2013.

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