Why submitt to an UGIE?
Symptoms that seem to come from the upper part of your digestive tract, can be vague and difficult to pinpoint. A diagnosis that is based on the medical history alone, is not always enough. UGIE is the preferred investigation to reveal several conditions. The investigation is used to check for certain signs of disease in the intestinal mucosa such as inflammation, ulcers and early signs of cancer. UGIE may also be performed to check that ulcers in the stomach heals normally. Upper gastrointestinal bleeding might call for an UGIE to find the source of the bleeding, which often is a bleeding ulcer in the stomach.
Sometimes the doctor that performs the investigation can't say for certain if the tissue in the GI lining is normal. When that is the case, a biopsy might be nessessary. This is especially important if the doctor suspects a malignant tumor. Small biopsies from the suspected tissue can be made with a pincer (biopsy forceps) which is passed through the scope. A biopsy allows the pathologist to render an opinion on later histologic examination of the biopsy tissue, for instance to confirm malignancies.
It is also possible to perform small therapeutic procedures through the scope. Cutting off small pieces of tissue with a snare device (e.g. polyps, endoscopic mucosal resection) is one example of this. The snare device is placed over the tumor or base of the polyp. Electric current is then released through the snare, and the selected tissue is then removed without much bleeding. The tissue is then brought out and studied closer under a microscope by a pathologist.