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Why Do I Need an Upper Endoscopy?

We all have had to deal with digestive issues at some point in our life. Typically, these incidents are not very serious and can be managed with natural home-based remedies or over-the-counter medications.

However, if you are having symptoms that have been lasting for a week or more, it is time to see a physician. Symptoms such as upper abdominal pain and/or bloating, vomiting of material that resembles coffee grounds, weakness and fatigue could indicate a serious condition and require you to be seen by a gastroenterologist. A gastroenterologist is a physician who specializes in disorders of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. He or she will do an evaluation of your upper GI tract with a procedure known as an upper endoscopy.

At GI North, located in Cumming, Georgia, Dr. Simon Cofrancesco and his highly trained staff are there to guide you through every step of the way.

What is an Upper Endoscopy?

An upper endoscopy is a procedure that evaluates the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (first part of the small intestine). After Dr. Confrancesco interviews you to get information about your symptoms, he will then do a physical examination. Based on what his findings are, he may have you scheduled for this procedure. It can detect precancerous conditions, bleeding, ulcers, hernias, etc.

What is the Preparation?

In order to prepare for your procedure, you will need to fast for 4 to 6 hours prior to the procedure. You must not smoke or chew gum. You will need to inform Dr. Cofrancesco about any medical conditions that you have and provide a list of your medications. You may be asked to hold off on taking blood thinners or dietary supplements as these can interact with sedation. Because you will have undergone sedation, you will need to arrange for someone to drive you to your appointment and to drive you home afterward.

How is the Procedure Performed?

This procedure is performed by first spraying or gargling an anesthetic solution that helps to relax the gag reflex. After that, an IV is placed into a vein the arm. This sedation will help you to feel calm during the procedure.

For the procedure itself, you will lie on your back or on your side. A slender scope is carefully placed down the esophagus and continues down to the stomach and duodenum. A small camera is mounted onto the scope. Air is pumped into the stomach for image optimization. These images from your upper tract are then emitted from the camera onto a video monitor. Dr. Cofrancesco is able to view these images in real-time. If needed, the doctor will take biopsies of any areas of concern.

After the Procedure

After your procedure, you will be taken to the recovery area for about an hour to allow the sedation to wear off. Dr. Cofrancesco will share results that are immediately available with you after the sedation has worn off. For biopsy results that have to be sent to the laboratory, a followup office visit will be scheduled. You may feel bloated and nauseated and have a mildly sore throat following the procedure. These will subside after a few days.

Are there any Risks?

There are a few risks involved with this procedure. These risks include reaction to sedation, bleeding from biopsy site if a biopsy was taken, and accidental puncture of the GI tract. Every precaution is taken to ensure your safety during this procedure.

If you or someone you know is having a difficult time resolving gastrointestinal issues, at GI North, Dr. Cofrancesco and his staff are available to assess and treat you in a professional and compassionate manner. For more information, click here.

© 2014 GI North Gastroenterology Services. All rights reserved.

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