What is an endoscopy?

Endoscopy or EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy) is the examination of the upper gastrointestinal tract by a small camera. The procedure examines the esophagus, stomach and a short portion of the small bowel.

Why is an endoscopy performed?

An upper endoscopy is performed to evaluate symptoms such as acid reflux (heartburn), abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or difficulty swallowing. It is more accurate than x-ray tests for detecting inflammation, ulcers and tumors of the esophagus and stomach. Endoscopy also allows your doctor to obtain a biopsy (a small tissue sample) to be examined under the microscope.

A biopsy may also be obtained to diagnose H. pylori, a bacterial infection of the stomach that causes gastritis or stomach ulcers. Celiac disease (gluten sensitivity) may also be diagnosed by biopsies.
Upper endoscopy is also used to treat certain problems such as bleeding or polyp removal. Dr. Mehdizadeh has performed thousands of endoscopic procedures.

Dr. Mehdizadeh is also trained in advanced endoscopic techniques and performs procedures such as stent placement, balloon dilation, variceal band ligation, feeding tube placement and treatment of massive gastrointestinal bleeding. Some advanced endoscopic procedures are performed only at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

How is Upper Endoscopy Performed?

Your stomach should be empty to allow an effective and safe examination. You should not eat or drink, including water, for about 8 hours prior to your endoscopy. Most medication can be continued prior to the exam but some medications such as aspirin or blood thinners may need to be stopped. Your doctor will give you instructions based on your specific conditions.

Endoscopy is performed under sedation. Patients are often concerned about a gag reflex during the procedure. However, this is almost never a problem as patients fall sleep before the procedure begins. During endoscopy, a camera (endoscope) is passed into the esophagus and advanced into the stomach and the duodenum (first part of the small intestine).

You will be taken to the recovery area to be monitored. Most patients wake up before they are transferred to the recovery area. Dr. Mehdizadeh will visit you after the procedure and will explain his findings. However, the results of any biopsies may take up to a week to return. You will feel alert after the procedure, but someone must drive you home. You cannot use a taxi or public transportation to go home.