An upper endoscopy is a procedure that is conducted in order to visually examine the upper portion of the digestive system (esophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestines), by using a small camera attached to a tube, much like a colonoscopy. Your doctor will look for irritation, bleeding, ulcers, or growths.
The purpose of an upper endoscopy is to conduct a more thorough and accurate diagnosis for certain conditions, possibly even treating them. Using specialized medical tools, your doctor can treat conditions by passing them through the endoscope and into the affected area for appropriate action. Your doctor may perform a biopsy, treat a blockage, treat or prevent bleeding, remove growths, or assess the anatomy prior to a planned surgery.
In a biopsy, a piece of tissue or bodily fluid is sampled from an area of the body for closer examination under a microscope. Biopsies are usually conducted when a doctor is led to believe that there may be an abnormality around the area in question. The removed tissue is sent to a lab for analysis.
Typically, biopsies are most helpful for detecting digestive cancers. However, a biopsy is useful for obtaining information from many other areas of concern other than just the surface of the skin. After conducting a biopsy, a problem can be easier to diagnose and an accurate treatment plan can be put into place going forward.
When a patient with chronic liver disease develops abnormal blood vessels in the esophagus, called varices, they are at significant risk of life-threatening hemorrhage. Esophageal banding is done to treat and eradicate these varices in the esophagus, either to prevent future bleeding or treat current bleeding. An endoscope is used to move small bands made of rubber down the throat until the varices are reached. The bands are placed around the varices, causing them to shrink.
Esophageal banding is used to treat varices in your esophagus. Esophageal varices are swollen veins in your esophagus, caused by cirrhosis or scarring in the liver that restricts normal blood flow.
Certain routine tests will be done prior to bariatric surgery. These tests may include blood studies, an abdominal ultrasound, and an EKG, among others. Other tests may be requested and could include chest x-rays, psychiatric evaluations, colonoscopies, sleep studies, among others. You may also undergo evaluation from health care professionals in addition to your primary care provider and surgeon, including a dietitian or psychologist.
An accurate assessment of your health is needed before any surgery. The best way to avoid complications is to understand their potential to begin with. These tests will determine if you have liver malfunction, breathing difficulties, and other abnormalities.
Occasionally, a patient may have a narrowing in the esophagus that can be from birth or acquired later in life. This narrowing can cause a blockage to food as it passes through the esophagus (a symptom called dysphagia). Your doctor can use a balloon or similar device during the endoscopy to dilate or stretch this area to improve symptoms.
Dilation is used in conditions that cause a narrowing or blockage in the esophagus. These conditions include strictures, rings, webs, or tumors.