How is the procedure performed?
Just before the UGIE your doctor may spray a local anaesthetic into the back of your throat, or give you a lozenge to suck to numb the throat area. This anaestatic will provide an effect that lasts for about 30 minutes. If you are having sedation, a small plastic tube (cannula) will usually be placed in a vein on the back of your hand. The sedative will be injected through the cannula. A mouth-guard is placed between the teeth, partly to protect your teeth, but more importantly to prevent you from biting on the very expensive endoscope. If you have them, you will be asked to take out any removable dentures or dental plates.
The tube/endoscope is thinner than much of the food you swallow, about the diameter of your finger.
The endoscope is then passed over the tongue and into the upper part of the throat (oropharynx). The endoscope is gradually advanced down the esophagus making note of any pathology. The endoscope is quickly passed through the stomach and through the pylorus to examine the first and second parts of the duodenum (see illustration).
Air is then usually pumped through the tube and into the stomach to make it expand, and the stomach lining will be easier to see. When this happens, you may briefly feel a sensation of pressure, fullness or nausea. The prosedure typically lasts for about 10 - 30 minutes.
Complications of UGIE are uncommon, but if removal of tissue such as polyps or biopsies are performed, bleeding can occur. As a precaution to this, all patients who have this examination done to them, must wait for 1-2 hours in the hospital after the procedure is finished. During this period you are not allowed to eat or drink. If larger pieces of tissue has been removed during the procedure, you might have to stay overnight in the hospital to ensure that you are close to help in case of bleeding.