• Gastroenterologists are internists who specialize in diseases of the digestive system.
  • Pediatric gastroenterologists specialize in diagnosing and treating digestive system and nutritional problems in children.

Other specialists who perform EGDs:

  • General surgeons and pediatric surgeons specialize in the surgical treatment of a wide variety of diseases, disorders and conditions.

How is an EGD performed?

An esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) is performed in a hospital or outpatient surgical setting. It takes about 10 to 25 minutes and generally includes these steps:

  1. You dress in a patient gown. Your care team positions you on an examination table. Your care team will give you blankets for modesty and warmth as needed.
  2. Your doctor or care team will spray a topical anesthetic into the back of your throat to numb it and reduce the gag reflex. Your doctor may give you a light sedative to make you drowsy and relaxed, and possibly a pain medication. Medication may be given intravenously (through an IV). With IV sedation, called conscious sedation, you will be very relaxed and may be unaware of the procedure. You may not even remember it. Your care team monitors your vital signs during IV sedation.
  3. Your doctor has you wear a special mouth guard to protect your teeth during the procedure.
  4. Your doctor will insert a thin, flexible endoscope through your mouth or nose, through the throat, and into the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. The doctor takes pictures and the images are transmitted onto a video screen.
  5. Your doctor will gently pull the endoscope out of the esophagus. This is when the most careful examination is carried out and procedures, such as tissue biopsy and treatments, are generally performed.

Will I feel pain?

Your comfort and relaxation is very important to both you and your care team. You may feel pressure in your throat and you will not be able to talk during the procedure. Your care team will give you pain and sedative medications to keep you calm and comfortable. In fact, patients often fall asleep during the procedure.

What are the risks and potential complications of an EGD?

Complications of an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) are not common. However, any procedure involves risks and the possibility of complications that may become serious in some cases. Complications can develop during the procedure or recovery. Risks and potential complications of an EGD include:

  • Adverse reaction or problems related to sedation or medications, such as an allergic reaction and problems with breathing
  • Bleeding
  • Difficulty swallowing and sore throat
  • Esophageal or intestinal perforation or tear
  • Infection
  • Injury to your teeth, jaw joint, lips, or throat
  • Pain

Reducing your risk of complications

You can reduce the risk of certain complications by:

  • Following activity, dietary and lifestyle restrictions and recommendations before your procedure and during recovery
  • Notifying your doctor immediately of any concerns, such as bleeding, fever, or increase in pain
  • Taking your medications exactly as directed
  • Telling all members of your care team if you have any allergies

How do I prepare for my EGD?

If you dread the thought of undergoing an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), you are not alone. You are an important member of your own healthcare team. The steps you take before your procedure can improve your comfort and outcome. You can prepare for an EGD by:

  • Answering all questions about your medical history and medications you take. This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, herbal treatments, and vitamins. It is a good idea to carry a current list of your medical conditions, medications, and allergies at all times.
  • Completely following all your doctor’s specific instructions. This generally includes not eating or drinking anything from six hours before the procedure.
  • If you wear dentures, you will need to remove them for the procedure. It is a good idea to leave them with a family member or at home if possible.
  • Taking or stopping medications exactly as directed. For an EGD, this may include not taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and blood thinners. You doctor will give you instructions for taking your specific medications and supplements.