What is an Upper GI Endoscopy? This is a procedure where a physician uses a small, lighted scope to view the tissues of your GI tract. It’s most commonly used to diagnose acid reflux and address it’s most severe symptoms.
|Los Angeles, CA Endoscopy Cost Average||$700 - $2,325|
|Miami, FL Endoscopy Cost Average||$500 - $1,650|
|New York, NY Endoscopy Cost Average||$550 - $1,850|
|Philadelphia, PA Endoscopy Cost Average||$550 - $1,800|
|Phoenix, AZ Endoscopy Cost Average||$500 - $1,650|
|Chicago, IL Endoscopy Cost Average||$525 - $1,700|
|Atlanta, GA Endoscopy Cost Average||$460 - $1,500|
|Houston, TX Endoscopy Cost Average||$480 - $1,600|
|Dallas, TX Endoscopy Cost Average||$470 - $1,550|
|Washington, DC Endoscopy Cost Average||$525 - $1,750|
|Upper GI Endoscopy Cost Average||$1,600 - $12,100|
|Passavant Area Hospital||Jacksonville , IL||$1,700 - $4,300|
|Yuma Regional Outpatient Surgical Center||Yuma , AZ||$600 - $1,550|
|Auburn Memorial Hospital||Auburn , NY||$1,300 - $3,400|
|Bedford County Medical Center||Shelbyville , TN||$575 - $1,500|
|Carolinas Medical Center - Lincoln||Lincolnton , NC||$825 - $2,175|
|Meadville Medical Center||Meadville , PA||$850 - $2,175|
|Corpus Christi Outpatient Surgery||Corpus Christi , TX||$625 - $1,600|
|Medical Arts Hospital||Lamesa , TX||$925 - $2,400|
|Humboldt Bay Surgery Co-operative||Eureka , CA||$925 - $2,400|
|Evanston Regional Hospital||Evanston , WY||$1,050 - $2,775|
|Hanford Surgery Center||Hanford , CA||$925 - $2,400|
|Binghamton General Hospital||Binghamton , NY||$900 - $2,325|
|Saint Vincent Jennings Hospital||North Vernon , IN||$2,325 - $5,900|
|Mountain View Endoscopy Center||Mountain View , CA||$925 - $2,400|
|Cabell Huntington Surgery Center||Huntington , WV||$575 - $1,500|
|Laurel Surgery and Endoscopy Center||Laurel , MS||$600 - $1,550|
|Davis Surgical Center||Layton , UT||$625 - $1,600|
|Southeastern Ohio Regional Medical Center||Cambridge , OH||$700 - $1,850|
|Red Bluff Surgery Center||Red Bluff , CA||$925 - $2,400|
|North Idaho Endoscopy Center||Coeur D Alene , ID||$600 - $1,550|
|Fort Myers Endoscopy Center||Fort Myers , FL||$650 - $1,700|
|Daviess Community Hospital||Washington , IN||$1,150 - $2,925|
|Boice-willis Clinic Endoscopy Center||Rocky Mount , NC||$675 - $1,700|
|Saint Mary's Healthcare Center||Pierre , SD||$1,150 - $2,925|
|Surgical Center of South Texas||Edinburg , TX||$625 - $1,600|
|Carolina Endoscopy Center- University||Charlotte , NC||$675 - $1,700|
|South Georgia Endoscopy Center||Waycross , GA||$600 - $1,500|
|Wayne Hospital||Greenville , OH||$725 - $1,900|
|Richmond Surgery Center||Richmond , IN||$650 - $1,700|
|Transylvania Community Hospital||Brevard , NC||$2,175 - $5,600|
An upper GI endoscopy (also known as esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD) is a procedure that allows your doctor to view the inside of your GI tract. The endoscope — a thin tube with various attachments — is inserted into the patient’s mouth. During the procedure your doctor may take tissue samples or remove abnormal growths called a biopsy. The test itself typically takes 15-30 minutes and you will be sedated during the procedure. You will spend another 30-60 minutes in the recovery room to allow the sedative to wear off.
What is an upper GI endoscopy used to look for?
There are a number of problems doctors can find with an endoscopy:
Inflammation of the esophagus or stomach
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – a common cause of acid reflux or heartburn
A narrowing of the esophagus
Enlarged veins in the gastrointestinal tract
Barrett’s esophagus, a condition that increases the risk for esophageal cancer
Cancer The exam can also find the cause of
Upper belly pain or bloating
Trouble swallowing (dysphagia)
Unexplained weight loss
Infection A doctor also might use and upper GI endoscopy to
Check the healing of stomach ulcers
Look at the inside of the stomach and upper small intestine after other procedures
Look for a blockage in the opening between the stomach and small intestine Endoscopies can also be used for the following:
Check for an injury to the esophagus in an emergency
Collect tissue samples
Remove polyps from inside the esophagus, stomach or small intestine
Treat upper GI bleeding
Remove foreign objects that may have been swallowed
What is an endoscope?
An endoscope is a flexible tube with a camera, light and other instruments attached.
What is an endoscopy?
“Endoscopy” is a generic term that includes many different types of procedures. In general, an endoscopy uses a small camera to view inside the body. The American Cancer Society (ACS) has identified the following types. Please note the rest of this FAQ is focused only on Upper GI Endoscopies.
Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy – or Upper GI Endoscopy (EGD) – is used to examine your esophagus and upper intestinal tract. The scope is inserted through your mouth.
Arthroscopy is used to examine your joints. The scope is inserted through a small incision near the joint being examined.
Bronchoscopy is used to examine your lungs. The scope is inserted into your nose or mouth.
Colonoscopy is used to examine your colon. The scope is inserted through your anus.
Cystoscopy is used to examine your bladder. The scope is inserted through your urethra, which is the hole through which you urinate.
Enteroscopy is used to examine your small intestine. The scope is inserted through your mouth or anus.
Hysteroscopy is used for the examining the inside of your uterus. The scope is inserted through your vagina.
Laparoscopy is used to examine your abdominal or pelvic area. The scope is inserted through a small incision near the area that’s being examined.
Laryngoscopy is used to examine your voice box, or larynx. The scope is inserted through your mouth or nostril.
Mediastinoscopy is used to examine the area between the lungs called the “mediastinum.” The scope is inserted through an incision above your breastbone.
Ureteroscopy is used to examine your ureter. The scope is inserted through your urethra.
Are upper GI endoscopies dangerous?
While all medical procedures carry some risk, upper GI endoscopies are considered a low risk procedure. They are much lower risk than open surgery. More details on the risks associated with upper GI endoscopies are included in the Procedure Considerations section.
Are there alternatives to an upper GI endoscopy?
One alternative to an upper GI endoscopy is called an “Upper GI Series” or “Upper Gastrointestinal Series”. In this test the physician will not use an endoscopy, rather they will use an x-ray, fluoroscopy, and barium to create images of your GI tract.
An upper GI series can help identify the cause of abdominal pain, unexplained weight gain, nausea, vomiting, and problems with swallowing. It can also identify cancer, reflux, hiatal hernias, ulcers, and other abnormalities.
Doctors may also use echography or x-ray, or they may study the patients stool, stomach fluids, and blood to learn more about a condition.
None of these alternatives provide the same direct view of the GI tract as an endoscopy.
What is an upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy?
An upper GI endoscopy (also known as esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD) is a procedure that allows your doctor to view the inside of your esophagus, stomach and the first part of your small intestine, also known as the duodenum. The endoscope — a thin tube with various attachments — is inserted into the patient’s mouth while the patient is sedated. Upper GI endoscopies often take the place of much more invasive exploratory surgeries. Doctors can often see problems not visible on X-ray. Not only can the doctor view the linings of the esophagus, stomach and small intestine, they can also take tissue samples and remove polyps if necessary.
What types of sedation are used for Upper GI Endoscopies?
There are options when it comes to choosing the type of sedation for an upper GI endoscopy, and it is even possible to have the procedure done with no sedation at all though some doctors may not allow this.
The most common form of sedation is “conscious” sedation. This is usually done with an intravenous dose of a sedative and an analgesic – a pain reliever that does not make the patient unconscious. This is typically administered via your arm or hand. Midazolam is most commonly used. You will remain calm and pain free, but not unconscious.
General anesthesia (or deep sedation) is also an option. This usually involves an anesthesiologist who will administer Propofol and some form of analgesic. You will be completely unconscious and not remember or feel anything. Many experts don’t recommend this method because it carries higher risk than lighter sedation. It also costs more.
Another method is the Computer-Assisted Personalized Sedation (CAPS) System. Specially trained gastroenterologists and nurse teams administer a lower dose of Propofol to induce minimal to moderate sedation.
What happens during an Upper GI Endoscopy?
You will be asked to remove any clothing, jewelry, or other objects that may interfere with the procedure. This may also include false teeth or dentures. You will be given a gown to wear if you are asked to remove your clothing and typically you will be given a safe place to lock up your valuables. (Keep in mind it is good practice not to bring any unnecessary valuables to your procedure.)
As mentioned, you will be given some form of sedative (unless you choose to have none and your doctor allows this) and you will also be administered a liquid anesthetic for your throat. This anesthetic – usually a spray or gargle – will relax the gag reflex and numb your throat helping the doctor to more easily navigate the endoscope into position. It may have a bitter taste, so try plugging your nose while the anesthetic is administered.
You will be asked to wear a mouth guard that will prevent you from biting on the scope and will protect your teeth from the scope and its attachments. Because you will be unable to swallow during most of the procedure the doctor’s team will be available with a suction device to remove the excess saliva.
You will be asked to lie on your left side on the exam table with your head slightly bent. The doctor’s team will be monitoring your vital signs and will help keep you relaxed and comfortable throughout the procedure. Once you are in position, the physician will slowly and carefully feed the lubricated endoscope down your throat. The doctor may ask you to swallow to help the scope move – the scope is no larger than most foods. Once in your esophagus, the doctor will ask you to tilt your head back upright. Once past your esophagus, your doctor will ask you not to swallow until after the procedure.
Once the scope reaches the stomach and duodenum the doctor may pump air via the endoscope to make the tissues more visible. Sometimes the air is also used to clean the end of the scope. Air and fluids may also be removed to improve visibility. While you will feel the air, most patients report this is not painful nor uncomfortable. In fact, many patients fall asleep during the procedure.
The endoscope includes a small camera and a light as well as the ability to add other instruments. This camera will send live images back to a computer and/or a video monitor which the doctor will be watching closely throughout the exam. (The doctor may alternatively be looking through the end of the scope.) The purpose of the procedure is to get a close and direct view of the tissues that make up the lining of your GI tract.
Depending on your symptoms, condition, and what the physician sees during the exam, the physician may choose to:
Perform a biopsy – where small samples of tissue are removed for further study
Perform a procedure to stop bleeding
Perform a dilation – a procedure to stretch a narrowed area of your GI tract (e.g. Esophageal dilation)
Remove a foreign body from the GI Tract
Perform an endoscopic surgery
Once the procedure is complete, the scope, attachments, and mouth guard will be removed and you will be taken to a recovery room.
How long does an endoscopy take?
Barring any complications, an upper GI endoscopy typically takes about 15 to 30 minutes, though much shorter in many cases. You will also have to budget time for the commute, intake, preparations, administration of sedation, and recovery. Be sure to budget several hours for the whole experience, and do not plan to return to work after as the sedation will take time to wear off.
What is an endoscopic biopsy?
Simply put, an endoscopic biopsy is the method in which doctors use an endoscope to remove tissue from your GI tract. The biopsy will be sent to a lab and examined by a pathologist, usually to test for cancer.
What is a stricture?
Typically caused by recurrent inflammation in the intestines, a stricture is a portion of the intestine that becomes narrowed. This can cause food to be blocked or slowed as it moves through that portion of the digestive tract.
What is an esophageal stricture?
This is a narrowing of the esophagus – the passage way that connects the throat with the stomach. In this case, typically the digestive fluids from the stomach leak into the esophagus. When this occurs repeatedly, scarring can form on the tissue in the esophagus causing a narrowing of the passageway. Other ingested irritants may also cause the same narrowing of the esophagus.
What is dilation or esophageal dilation?
Dilation or esophageal dilation is used to address an esophageal stricture. There are several different methods for dilation, but all are essentially procedures to stretch the area of the narrowing tissues to reduce symptoms. The most common reason for these procedures is to address the scarring from acid reflux or heartburn.
Upper GI Endoscopies are the collection of services from four providers: the physician, facility, anesthesia group, and pathology lab. All will have their own costs. Typically all materials costs are paid to the facility and are usually included in the facility fees which – like all costs – should be confirmed in advance of your procedure. You may not have pathology costs if no polyps or other specimen are removed that your physician would like tested.
The facility cost is typically the largest and the one that varies the most. Facility fees can vary from $500 to over $4,000 or more for the same procedure! General anesthesia, depending length and type of procedure, can cost between $200 to 900. Physicians fees can also vary from approximately $300 to $1,900 or more. Pathology costs are an additional $200 to $1,000.
The choice of provider for your Upper GI Endoscopy will directly impact your costs – even if you have insurance. Study after study from groups both inside and outside the healthcare industry have shown that cost does not correlate with quality. So paying more for your Endoscopy does not mean you are receiving better care.
Uninsured patients are very strongly advised to negotiate all pricing in advance, and be sure it is documented. Many providers will offer 30 – 80 percent discounts off their “Charges” – that’s a medical term for their List Price – for uninsured or self-pay patients. Depending the patient’s circumstances, they may qualify for additional patient assistance. (See our Patient Assist Program for a program that can save you 80% on your Upper GI Endoscopy.)
Insured patients are not likely to be able to negotiate any additional discounts. Your insurance company has pre-negotiated “contracted rates” with each provider. The portion of those rates that you will pay vary on many different variables such as your deductible, co-pays, and co-insurance. It will also vary depending on if the provider is considered “In Your Network” or “Out of Your Network”. Contact your insurance company in advance and ask for their assistance determining your costs. For more information on Upper GI Endoscopy in your area, please see our Medical Pricing Directory.
Not only do different physicians and facilities offer varying price structures, but prices can vary greatly from region to region. Sometimes traveling to a different city can save thousands, even when travel costs are taken into account. Please contact our Patient Assist Concierge Team for more information on how to shop for an Upper GI Endoscopy.
How should I choose a doctor for my Upper GI Endoscopy?
Before choosing a physician, you’ll want to do some research. Ask your primary care physician if you have one. Ask friends who may have had the procedure. And, there are many great resources on the internet.
As you look keep the following in mind:
Location of exam (office, outpatient facility, hospital)
Certification (To find out if a doctor is board certified, go to certificationmatters.org)
Healthgrades is one way to research doctors, though the information can be limited and/or outdated. This site has information on the doctor’s education, hospital affiliations, sanctions, malpractice claims, locations, and insurance plans. You can also read patient feedback on topics such as wait times and patient satisfaction HOWEVER there are relatively few reviews compared to the number of patients most doctors have treated. Be careful not to read too much into these reviews. RateMDs is another site which allows patients to post and answer questions about the doctors. Vitals.com also includes patient ratings on bedside manner, follow-up, accuracy of diagnosis, and average wait time.
Who can help me find a gastroenterologist?
If you went to your primary care physician for your symptoms, he or she will most likely refer to a gastroenterologist they trust.
If you choose to go straight to a gastroenterologist, your insurance company may provide you with a list of doctors who are in your network.
Our Patient Assist program can help you find a qualified doctor at a very fair price. No matter how you find your doctor, do your homework.
Will I have more than one appointment for my upper GI endoscopy?
You may have up to three or more appointments for your upper GI endoscopy, so keep that in mind as you make your decision. The number of appointments depends on a few factors. If you went to your primary care physician first, he or she may send you to a gastroenterologist for another office exam. You will then have the procedure. In some cases you may be asked to meet with your gastroenterologist and / or your Primary Care Physician (PCP) after the results are available.
How do I schedule an Upper GI Endoscopy?
After you’ve seen your primary care physician about your symptoms, he or she will likely refer you to a gastroenterologist. Gastroenterologists specialize in diagnosing and treating disorders of the digestive system (GI tract), which includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, pancreas, gall bladder and bile ducts.
You can also schedule an appointment directly with a gastroenterologist. (Some insurance providers will require a referral from your PCP.) Many gastroenterologists will require a consultation before scheduling the upper GI endoscopy, though this is not always the case.
Some clinics and facilities now offer direct scheduling or direct access for upper GI endoscopies. You or your doctor can call the facility to schedule the exam without first seeing a gastroenterologist. You may have to answer a few brief questions on the phone with a nurse or other provider prior to scheduling to see if you are a candidate.
Where can I have an Upper GI Endoscopy performed?
There are multiple options when it comes to where you may have your endoscopy performed. Hospitals offer endoscopy services, usually for patients who are considered high-risk for the procedure. Your Gastroenterologist can evaluate if you are a high-risk candidate. Some conditions may include hear conditions, obesity, heavy smoker, etc.
Most endoscopies are performed at Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASC) which may also be called Outpatient Centers, GI Centers, or Endoscopy Centers. These are more convenient and you won’t be exposed to as many patients who may have communicable diseases. Upper GI Endoscopies at outpatient centers can be half the cost of the same procedure at a hospital – and even far less than that. It is important to remember that all ASCs are not created equal. Find one that is Medicare-certified, and ask how many of their patients have been admitted to the hospital due to infection.
Wait times vary greatly between hospitals and outpatient settings. It can take more than three times longer to schedule an Upper GI Endoscopy at a hospital compared to an ASC.
Some physicians perform endoscopies in their offices. Though the same equipment and sedation are used, the cost is considerably less expensive — a difference in the thousands of dollars.
What are the risks of an endoscopy?
The risks associated with an upper GI endoscopy are very limited. As the doctor moves the scope, you may feel nauseous, bloated or mild cramping in your abdomen. You may also feel like gagging.
Though rare, it is possible that the scope might make a small hole in your GI tract. If this happens, you may or may not need another procedure to repair it. A tear of the intestinal tract from a diagnostic endoscopy happens in approximately 1 in 2,500 to 1 in 11,000 cases. Risks increase slightly with other procedures, such as dilation.
If the physician takes a biopsy or removes any tissue, minor bleeding may occur — less than 0.5 percent of diagnostic UGI endoscopic procedures. This usually stops on its own.
Some patients may experience adverse effects from the sedation. Sixty percent of all adverse events associated with UGI endoscopy are cardiopulmonary in nature and related to the sedatives given. According to different studies, this risk is between one in 170 cases and one in 10,000 cases.
There is a low risk of mild infection — 8 percent — and though more serious infections are possible, they are extremely rare.
Occasionally, patients will vomit during the test, which can cause aspiration (vomit in the lungs). This can possibly cause aspiration pneumonia, which is easily treated with antibiotics.
Your doctor will likely notice any complications during your procedure, but some adverse events may not be immediately evident. If you experience any of the following, contact your doctor or go to an emergency room:
Shortness of breath
Persistent or severe abdominal pain
Vomiting. If the vomit is bloody or looks like coffee grounds, seek medical attention immediately.
It is also important to remember that people are more inspired to write bad reviews — about everything from doctors to restaurants — than good ones. Keep that in mind if you are reading “horror stories” on the internet about this procedure. You most likely have a friend or family member who has had it done, so ask them about their experience and talk with your doctor about your concerns.
What circumstances might make an endoscopy problematic?
As with any medical procedure, there are certain conditions and medications that can cause problems. Tell your doctor about the following:
Allergies to medications, including anesthetics
Medications you’re taking
Bleeding problems or if you are on blood thinners
Diabetes (insulin dependent)
Pregnancy or possible pregnancy
Any previous radiation treatment of the upper GI area
What happens during the examination/consultation?
A consultation or “consult” is typically done at least a few days in advance of the actual procedure (though some doctors will perform this the same day as the procedure). This is an opportunity for the physician to get to know you and your situation. They will ask medical history questions and complete a physical analysis. They will be looking for any risk factors that should be considered before the procedure is performed, and they will be ensuring the procedure is actually relevant to your situation.
It is important to be prepared for your consultation. Be sure to bring notes from previous doctor or ER visits, results of any previous scans or lab test, and a list of your medications, vitamins, and supplements.
During the consult, the physician may also choose to have other tests completed including diagnostic tests such as blood work to ensure you do not have any clotting problems, for example.
Again, make sure you share all pertinent health information with your doctor before the procedure, such as:
Medications (including vitamins)
Medical conditions, such as heart and lung conditions and bleeding disorders
Pregnancy (or if you think you might be pregnant)
How do I prepare for an endoscopy?
Most patients are asked to fast for four to eight hours before the exam to ensure that the stomach is empty. If you are on any blood thinning medications, you may have to stop taking them in the days leading up to the test. Discuss this with your doctor to get the specifics. Don’t forget to tell the doctor about any supplements, vitamins, etc., because some of these may also have blood thinning properties.
During your consultation or by phone / mail / email in advance of your procedure, you will receive specific preparation instructions from your doctor. If you have not received these you should contact your doctor’s office at least 24 hours in advance of your procedure. Failure to follow these instructions may result in a rescheduling of your procedure and – in some cases – additional fees.
What happens after an upper GI endoscopy?
Patients usually stay at the ASC, clinic, or hospital from one to two hours after the exam, which gives time for the sedative to wear off. Keep in mind it may take up to 24 hours for effects of the sedative to disappear completely. Make sure you’ve arranged a ride home; the sedative will make you groggy and your motor skills will be impaired. You might also experience nausea or bloating for a short time. You may also have a sore throat and difficulty swallowing.
You can resume your normal diet as soon as you feel comfortable though if additional procedures were performed you may be asked to follow a modified diet for a period of time. It’s a good idea to rest at home after your procedure. Your doctor will give your further instructions on care following the exam. It is critical that you follow these instructions.
After your throat is numbed by the anesthetic spray, you may have a hard time feeling yourself swallow, even though you are actually swallowing. If this sensation causes you any anxiety, put your hand to your throat and you can feel it that way.
Can I drive home after an upper GI endoscopy?
Though you may feel alert once the sedative wears off, your judgement, memory and reaction times may still be off. Besides having someone drive you home after your exam, you should also avoid making important financial or personal decisions, and it’s best take the day off work. You’ll be good to go after 24 hours.
How will I receive the results of my upper GI endoscopy?
You will get some results immediately following the exam after the sedative has worn off. It’s a good idea to have a friend or family member with you while the doctor explains these results; you will still be groggy.
If your physician took any tissue samples, those will be sent to a pathologist for further testing. Biopsy results can take a few days or up to several weeks to come back.
Are there any symptoms I should worry about after the exam?
Though the risks are minor, problems can occur. If you experience any of the following, seek medical attention immediately:
Increasing throat pain or if swallowing becomes more difficult
Vomiting blood or if your vomit looks like coffee grounds
Worsening pain in your abdomen
Blood in the stool (black or tarry in appearance)
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