Upper endoscopy, also known as EGD, is a procedure in which a thin scope with a light and camera at its tip is used to look inside the upper digestive tract – the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine, called the duodenum.

The procedure is commonly used to help identify the causes of:

  • Abdominal or chest pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Bleeding
  • Swallowing problems

Endoscopy can also help identify inflammation, ulcers, and tumors.

Upper endoscopy is more accurate than X-rays for detecting abnormal growths such as cancer and for examining the inside of the upper digestive system. In addition, abnormalities can be treated through the endoscope. For example:

  • Polyps (growths of tissue in the stomach) can be identified and removed, and tissue samples (biopsies) can be taken for analysis.
  • Narrowed areas or strictures of the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum from cancer or other diseases can be dilated or stretched using balloons or other devices. In some cases, a stent (a wire or plastic mesh tube) can be put in the stricture to prop it open.
  • Objects stuck in the esophagus can be removed.
  • Bleeding due to ulcers, cancer or varices can be treated.