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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)

Commonly called an upper endoscopy, an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) is used to diagnose and treat conditions of the upper gastrointestinal tract. With this procedure, your doctor can view the lining of the esophagus, stomach and beginning of the small intestine using real-time images from a camera attached to a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope.

An EGD may be used to diagnose cancer of the esophagus, stomach and small intestine, as well as treating those cancers. Our Gastroenterology Program uses minimally invasive procedures to treat cancers of the digestive system and to relieve symptoms associated with your specific digestive cancer.

An EGD also is used to diagnose the following conditions:

  • Celiac disease
  • Esophageal rings
  • Swollen veins in the lining of the esophagus caused by liver cirrhosis (esophageal varices)
  • Inflammation or swelling of the esophageal lining (esophagitis)
  • Inflammation or swelling of the stomach or small intestinal lining (gastritis)
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Hiatal hernia, when part of the stomach comes into the chest
  • A tear in the esophagus (Mallory-Weiss syndrome)
  • Narrowing of the esophagus
  • Stomach or small intestine ulcers

An EGD may be done if you have upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or difficulty swallowing that has not gone away. It may be used to help your doctor determine the cause of bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract. An EGD also may be an option if the following symptoms are new to you, cannot be explained or are not responding to treatment:

  • Black or tarry stools
  • Vomit with blood
  • Bringing up food up after eating (regurgitation)
  • Feeling full sooner or after eating less than normal
  • Feeling that food is stuck behind the breastbone
  • Heartburn
  • Low blood count (anemia)
  • Pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen
  • Weight loss

For the procedure, you will be given a sedative to help you relax or fall asleep. An anesthesiologist may be present to make sure you are safely and comfortably sedated. As you lie on your side, your doctor slides the endoscope through the esophagus to the stomach and small intestine.

You doctor examines the lining of the esophagus, stomach and the beginning of the small intestine and, in some cases, performs a biopsy to diagnosis cancer or other conditions such as ulcers. Treatments also may be performed during an EGD. These include stretching a narrowed area of the esophagus,  removing polyps or cryotherapy  of the esophagus to shrink the tumor and help improve swallowing. The procedure lasts 5-20 minutes.

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