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What is upper gastrointestinal endoscopy?

This is a very useful way to examine your oesophagus, stomach and upper duodenum. A narrow flexible tube (an endoscope) is gently passed down your throat while you are sedated. This tube contains a very small camera which transmits light and images back to the doctor.

Sometimes this is used to diagnose a digestive problem you may be having, to remove a foreign object or a polyp, to stop any bleeding, or to stretch a narrow area (a stricture). The doctor will look for any signs of unhealthy digestive tissue (redness, inflammation, a lump or an ulcer) or may take a biopsy to reveal any underlying problems that may not be apparent during the procedure, (e.g. Lactose intolerance, Coeliac Disease).

The procedure itself takes between 15-30 minutes, after which you will rest to allow the sedation to wear off.


The sedatives used for this procedure will mean that you are legally under the influence of a mind altering drug until the next day. You must have someone drive you home after your procedure. You must have someone stay with you overnight following your procedure. Patients should not drive, operate machinery, drink alcohol or make any important decisions within the first 24 hours after anaesthesia. You should not return to work until the following day.