Upper GI Endoscopy

The following will provide an overview of an upper GI endoscopy. If you need more details, please discuss with your consultant.

What is an upper GI endoscopy?

The upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy is also sometimes called a gastroscopy. It is a procedure that uses a flexible endoscope to examine the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum to check for any problems or irregularities (see figure 1).

Figure 1
Upper GI endoscopy
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What are the alternative methods of examination?

As well as an upper GI endoscopy, an examination can be carried out with a barium meal (an x-ray of the digestive system) or with a urea breath test, which can check if the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers is present.

What happens during an upper GI endoscopy?

You may be offered a sedative if it is suitable for your individual situation. The process will take roughly ten minutes. The endoscope will gently be pushed to the back of your throat where it can pass down into the stomach and duodenum. A small camera will allow the endoscopist to check for irregularities or irritations such as ulcers or inflamed tissue. It is also possible to take small tissue samples (biopsies) if necessary, and they can take pictures to aid diagnosis.

Risks and complications

Any risks or complications will be discussed in advance of your treatment with your expert consultant.

How long does it take to recover?

Most patients return home after the upper GI endoscopy and are back in work the following day (subject to consultant’s advice). However, if you have taken a sedative, bear in mind it may take one or two hours to fully wear off. It is normal to feel bloated for a few hours following the procedure, too. Your healthcare team will discuss your results and arrange any follow-up appointments needed.


In order to help diagnose problems with the digestive system, an upper GI endoscopy is generally a safe and effective method of examination.


References: EIDO Healthcare Limited – The operation and treatment information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare.

The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.


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