An endoscopy, or upper GI endoscopy, lets your gastroenterologist, S. Radi Shamsi, MD, look for abnormalities along your digestive tract. At Los Angeles Gastroenterology Clinic in Santa Monica, California, Dr. Shamsi uses an upper endoscopy to find causes of persistent nausea, upper abdominal pain, swallowing difficulties, vomiting, or sources of bleeding in your upper gastrointestinal tract. Since instruments can be passed through the endoscope, it’s also used to get small tissue samples for examination in a lab. You’ll get the answers you need from one simple procedure.
The best and safest upper endoscopy examinations are done on an empty stomach. Dr. Shamsi will tell you when to begin fasting, but a period of six hours with nothing to eat or drink beforehand, is typical.
Alert Dr. Shamsi or his staff about any medications you are taking, as well as any allergies you have. They’ll also need to know if you usually need to take antibiotics before having any dental work done, since this might mean you need antibiotics with an upper endoscopy.
You’ll need to arrange for someone to drive you home after your upper endoscopy is done. Taking a taxi or bus home isn’t allowed, because you might need a caretaker until sedatives wear off.
An endoscopy is a medical procedure that lets Dr. Shamsi examine the lining of the upper part of your gastrointestinal tract, your esophagus, stomach, and the beginning of your small intestine. This is done by inserting a small, flexible tube that has a light source and tiny camera, into your mouth, which allows Dr. Shamsi to view the images on a TV screen.
Dr. Shamsi will either spray your throat with a local anesthetic, or administer a sedative to help you relax, or both. You'll be instructed to lie on your side and the scope will go through your mouth and into the areas to be examined. The process isn't painful and you won’t have impairment with breathing. Many patients, in fact, even fall asleep.
An hour or so following the procedure, the anesthetic will wear off and you can generally be driven home. At this point, you can eat and drink normally, unless you've been instructed otherwise.
There are rarely any complications when Dr. Shamsi performs an upper endoscopy. If any bleeding is caused by a polyp removal or biopsy, it's usually minor and doesn’t require any follow-up or any other treatment. As with any procedure that uses sedatives, there's a possibility of having allergic reactions to the medication.