All About Upper Endoscopy (Panendoscopy): Preparation and Procedure

What to expect before and during the procedure.

Upper endoscopy, also known as panendoscopy, is a visual examination of the lining of the esophagus, stomach and upper duodenum with a flexible fiberoptic endoscope.

Procedure Preparation
In order to properly perform an upper endoscopy, your physician may make the following recommendations:

  • Under physician request, you may be asked to stop eating and drinking after midnight prior to your exam
  • You should have nothing to eat or drink (6 to 12 hours) before the test

We may request that you arrive one hour prior to your scheduled time in order to be adequately prepared for the procedure.

Preparation at the Facility
When the endoscope is inserted, a small plastic mouthpiece will be in place between your teeth to protect your teeth as well as the endoscope. Removable items in your mouth such as dentures, tongue rings and partials will require removal. An intravenous line (IV) will be placed in your arm to deliver medications for comfort during the procedure. You will be attached to a monitor to check your blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen status.

During the Procedure
For the duration of your procedure, you will be instructed to lie on your left side. The lining of the stomach, esophagus and upper duodenum will be examined. If necessary, biopsies may be obtained through the endoscope. When the area has been viewed and any biopsies taken, the endoscope will be removed. Food and liquids will be restricted until your gag reflex returns. The procedure lasts between 15 to 60 minutes. 

How It Feels
Throughout the upper endoscopy procedure, there may be a sensation of gas as well as the possible feeling of the scope in the abdomen. The endoscope may stimulate some gagging in the back of the throat. A nurse will observe you closely during the procedure to monitor your comfort level. The local anesthetic will make swallowing awkward, though this wears off shortly after the procedure.

Due to the effects of sedation from the medication you received, the physician may speak with your family or delay his talk with you. The physician’s discussion may involve a postprocedure phone call or a postprocedure follow-up visit. Please note it may take several days to a week before your physician receives results of any biopsies taken.

Find a San Diego Gastroenterologist
To find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego gastroenterologist or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday 8 am to 6 pm.

This information has been prepared by the Sharp Memorial Outpatient Pavilion team for patients in their unit. Upper endoscopy preparation and procedure may vary depending on location.