Endoscopy is any technique where a flexible camera is inserted into a hollow part of the body. In the case of Upper GI endoscopy, this instrument is placed through the mouth and into then guided into the oesophagus, and then into the stomach and the first half of the duodenum.
These areas can therefore be carefully looked at to help make a diagnosis. Usually samples of tissue (biopsies) are taken which examines for microscopic disease.
After nearly four years of pain and sickness every time I ate or drank, I can now do both normally without any sign of pain or sickness at all. It has made a tremendous difference to my life.
This investigation is extremely helpful for the treatment of patients with any Upper GI symptoms or where there may be concern about other conditions. It can demonstrate the presence of inflammation, ulcers, abnormalities of the gut lining (mucosa) and growths.
The procedure can be carried out under local anaesthetic spray, sedation or a full general anaesthetic and is usually performed as a day-case.
A number of procedures can now be carried out using endoscopy to actually treat symptoms. These include dilatation (stretching) of narrowed areas (strictures) to improve function; endoscopic myotomy where muscle fibres are divided to treat achalasia and radiofrequency energy administration (STRETTA) which is a novel procedure for the management of reflux.