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Upper GI Endoscopy and Dilatation

This webpage will give you information about an upper GI endoscopy and dilatation. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.

What is an upper GI endoscopy?

An upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy is a procedure to look at the inside of the oesophagus (gullet), stomach and duodenum using a flexible telescope (see figure 1). This procedure is sometimes known as a gastroscopy.

A dilatation involves stretching the narrowed area.


Upper GI Endoscopy and Dilatation


Figure 1 - Areas examined by an upper GI endoscopy

Are there any alternatives to an upper GI endoscopy?

An upper GI endoscopy without dilatation or a barium meal are other investigations.

What does the procedure involve?

An upper GI endoscopy and dilatation usually takes about a quarter of an hour.

If appropriate, the endoscopist may offer you a sedative to help you relax.

The endoscopist will place a flexible telescope (endoscope) into the back of your throat. From here the endoscope will pass on into your duodenum.

The endoscopist will be able to look for problems in these organs. They will be able to perform biopsies and take photographs to help make the diagnosis. The endoscopist can perform a dilatation using a guidewire and dilators or a balloon dilator.

What complications can happen?

  • Sore throat
  • Allergic reaction
  • Breathing difficulties or heart irregularities
  • Infection
  • Making a hole in the oesophagus, stomach or duodenum at the narrowing
  • Damage to teeth or bridgework
  • Bleeding
  • Incomplete procedure

How soon will I recover?

If you were given a sedative, you will normally recover in about an hour.

A member of the healthcare team will tell you what was found during the endoscopy and will discuss with you any treatment or follow-up you need.

You should be able to go back to work one to two days after the endoscopy.


An upper GI endoscopy and dilatation is usually a safe and effective way of finding out if you have a problem with the upper part of your digestive system and treating your symptoms.


Author: Mr Simon Parsons DM FRCS (Gen. Surg.)

Illustrations: Medical Illustration Copyright © 2011 Nucleus Medical Art. All rights reserved. www.nucleusinc.com

This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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