Upper Endoscopy | UGI

At MaineHealth, our doctors provide the expertise and technology to diagnose and treat patients with digestive problems. Advanced imaging tools include upper endoscopy, a nonsurgical test that lets doctors view your digestive tract as well as evaluate and treat problems.

What is an upper endoscopy?

An upper endoscopy lets your doctor view your digestive tract. It is not surgery. A tube with a light and tiny camera is used so that your doctor can see the digestive tract on a TV screen.

An endoscope (a thin flexible tube with a camera on it) is passed through the mouth and throat and into the esophagus. Your doctor can:

  •  See problems without making surgical cuts or incisions.
  • Look for bleeding, tumors, infection or swelling.
  • Remove tissue for biopsy, or remove polyps.

Preparing for an upper endoscopy

Patients often are told not to eat anything for 12 hours before the endoscopy. An empty stomach makes it easier for the doctor to see problems during the test. Check with your doctor for instructions.

Sometimes people have to take laxatives or use enemas the night before the procedure is done.

Upper GI endoscopies are done in hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices. They generally take 30 minutes to 45 minutes to complete.

Some of the conditions diagnosed with an upper endoscopy include:

  • Esophagitis
  • Gastritis
  • GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Swollen veins in the esophagus
  • Barrett’s esophagus
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Ulcers
  • Cancer