Endoscopic Procedures

Our doctors use an endoscope – a long, hose-like optical device that is inserted directly into a body cavity or organ – to examine the health of your digestive system and diagnose or confirm various conditions and diseases. Endoscopic examinations of the upper part of your digestive system – the esophagus, stomach and beginning of the small intestine – can reveal ulcers, hiatal hernias and gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD.

Narrow-band imaging, a technology for endoscopes, uses special light to better detect precancerous conditions, such as Barrett's esophagus. Improved visibility allows gastroenterologists to decide on the best treatment (endoscopic or surgical) and the management of any conditions.

To create images, an ultrasound can be combined with an endoscopy by attaching an ultrasound probe to the endoscope. This combination is useful to take pictures of the wall of the esophagus or stomach, as well as hard to reach organs.

During the procedure, you’ll receive an intravenous sedative or other form of anesthesia. Then, your provider administers a numbing spray to your throat and inserts a mouthguard to protect your teeth. You will lie on your left side while your doctor guides the endoscope through your mouth and down into the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. Air will be pumped through the endoscope into the stomach and duodenum to make it easier for your physician to see. The procedure takes about 30 minutes.

Benefits of the Endoscopic Procedures

Endoscopic procedures can help determine a health issue by:

  • Investigating symptoms. An endoscopy can help figure out what is causing digestive symptoms, such as heartburn, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing and gastrointestinal bleeding.
  • Making a diagnosis. A gastroenterologist can collect tissue samples, also known as biopsies, to test for diseases and conditions that may be causing anemia, bleeding, inflammation or diarrhea. It can also detect some cancers of the upper digestive system.
  • Treating a condition. Special tools can be passed through the endoscope to treat problems in your digestive system. For example, an endoscopy can be used to burn a bleeding vessel to stop bleeding, widen a narrow esophagus, clip off a polyp or remove a foreign object.

Who Is a Candidate for These Procedures?

An upper endoscopy is a relatively low-risk procedure so if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, your doctor may recommend it. It requires no incisions, allowing for a quick and often painless recovery.


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Endoscopy, a technique that enables doctors to look inside your body with an optical device, is used to determine the health of your digestive system.