IBD Diagnosis - Upper Endoscopy

One of the first steps we take to diagnose inflammatory bowel disease may be a visual examination of the small bowel and/or colon. We use a thin, flexible tube with a lighted camera at the tip. During the procedure, magnified images of the bowel are projected to a television screen.

What is an Upper Endoscopy?

An upper endoscopy (also known as an EGD) examines the esophagus (swallowing tube), stomach and first part of the small intestine using a light, flexible endoscope.

What Happens During an Upper Endoscopy?

During your upper endoscopy, you may receive a local, liquid anesthetic that is gargled or sprayed on the back of the throat. This will numb your throat and prevent any kind of gag reflex. You will also receive a sedative through an IV.

During the procedure, you will lie on your side on an examination table. An endoscope is carefully fed down your esophagus and into the stomach. A small camera mounted on the endoscope transmits a video image to a video monitor, allowing close examination of the intestinal lining. Our doctors may remove one or more small tissue samples for examination under the microscope to aid in diagnosis..

Therapeutic endoscopy can also be used to treat certain conditions in the upper intestine. Special tools that slide through the endoscope allow the doctor to perform biopsies, stop bleeding, and remove abnormal growths with a minimally invasive approach.

Other Advanced Endoscopic Techniques at Penn State Hershey's IBD Center

In addition to upper endoscopies, our doctors use new and very accurate endoscopic techniques to diagnose and treat IBD, including:

  • Deep enteroscopy examines more of the small intestine using balloons, fitted over an endoscope, to access hard-to-reach areas of the small intestine. This test allows your doctor to see, diagnose or treat almost any part of the small bowel.
  • A sigmoidoscopy examines the lower third of your large intestine
  • A colonoscopy examines your entire colon, sometimes including the very end of the small intestine
  • Video capsule endoscopy allows us to examine difficult-to-reach areas within the small intestine with a pill-size camera that takes pictures as it moves through your digestive tract
  • Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) is a minimally invasive procedure, using an endoscope, to completely remove a polyp or other growth anywhere within the digestive system. EMR can often spare a patient from a major surgical procedure

How to Prepare for Your Endoscopy Test

Your doctor will give you specific instructions to prepare for your endoscopy. Your doctor may ask you to:

  • Fast, with no food or drink before your endoscopy so your stomach is empty for the procedure
  • Stop taking certain blood-thinning medications in the days before your endoscopy because they may increase your risk of bleeding

If you have chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure, your doctor will give you specific instructions regarding your medications.

Make an Appointment

To make an appointment, or to refer a patient to our care, contact our dedicated IBD Coordinator at 717-531-3998 or the Penn State Hershey Careline at 1-800-243-1455.