Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Upper Endoscopy

Why is Upper Endoscopy Done?

Upper endoscopy is usually performed to evaluate symptoms of persistent upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or difficulty swallowing.  It is also the best test for finding the cause of bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract.

Upper endoscopy is more accurate than x-ray films for detecting inflammation, ulcers, or tumors of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum.  Upper endoscopy can detect early cancer and can distinguish between benign and malignant (cancerous) conditions when biopsies (small tissue samples) of suspicious areas are obtained.  Biopsies are taken for many reasons and do not necessarily mean that cancer is suspected.  A cytology test (introduction of a small brush) to collect cells may also be performed.

Upper endoscopy is also used to treat conditions present in the upper gastrointestinal tract.  A variety of instruments can be passed through the endoscope that allow many abnormalities to be treated directly with little or no discomfort.  For example, stretching narrowed areas, removing polyps (usually benign growths) or swallowed objects and treating upper gastrointestinal bleeding.  Safe and effective endoscopic control of bleeding has reduced the need for transfusions and surgery in many patients.

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