What is Gastroenterology?

Gastroenterology is a medical specialty involved with the diagnosis and treatment of disorders and diseases of the digestive system; this includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, liver, gallbladder and biliary system.


Upper Endoscopy (EGD)

What is upper endoscopy?

Upper endoscopy allows your doctor to examine the lining of the upper part of your gastrointestinal tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (first portion of the small intestine). An EGD is used for stretching a narrowed esophagus if you are experiencing difficulty swallowing, the removal of polyps or swallowed foreign objects. For more information, visit

Why is upper endoscopy done?

Upper endoscopy helps your doctor evaluate symptoms of persistent upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, difficulty swallowing or the cause of bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract.

How do I prepare for the upper endoscopy?

Your stomach must be empty. Do not eat or drink anything, including water, for approximately six hours before the procedure. Our schedulers will tell you when to start fasting.

What can I expect during upper endoscopy?

Sedation will be given before and during the procedure to help you relax and make you sleepy. You will lie comfortably on your left side. The doctor will pass the endoscope through your mouth and into the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. The endoscope does not interfere with your breathing. The scope blows air into the stomach to expand the folds of tissue making it easier for the physician to examine your stomach. You should experience little to no discomfort with this procedure.

What happens following my upper endoscopy?

Your throat may be slightly sore, and you might feel bloated because of the air introduced into your stomach.

Why is a biopsy done?

A suspicious area may be found and a biopsy is needed to distinguish between benign and cancerous tissues. This is done with small forceps passed through the scope with no discomfort to the patient. Biopsies are done even if cancer is not suspected. Your doctor may do a biopsy to test for Helicobacter pylori, bacteria that cause ulcers.


What is colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy enables your doctor to examine the lining of your colon (large intestine) and rectum. It is the most effective way to evaluate your entire colon for the presence of colorectal cancer or polyps. Early detection can prevent surgery and save lives.

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How do I prepare for the colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy requires a cleansing preparation of the colon the day before the procedure so that the colon can be fully visualized. This is usually accomplished by drinking a liquid that causes complete emptying of the colon. Our schedulers will tell you what dietary restrictions to follow and what cleansing routine to use as prescribed by your doctor. It is important to follow your directions carefully.

What can I expect during the colon exam?

Sedation will be given before and during your procedure to help you relax and make you sleepy. You will lie on your left side as a flexible tube is inserted into your anus and slowly advanced into the rectum and colon. The procedure will cause you little to no discomfort.

What if a polyp is found?

A polyp is an abnormal growth found in the colon lining. They vary in size and shape, and while most are benign (non-cancerous), some may turn into cancer. It is important to remove pre-cancerous polyps as a preventative measure for colorectal cancer. Very small polyps may be totally destroyed by fulguration (burning). Larger polyps are removed by a technique called snare polypectomy. A wire loop (snare) is passed through the scope and removes the polyp from the intestinal wall. This technique causes no pain to the patient.

What can you expect after your colonoscopy?

You may experience some bloating or mild cramping because of the air introduced into your colon. These symptoms should disappear when you pass gas.

Do I have to drink all the solution to cleanse my colon?

Please follow all instructions and make every effort to drink all of the purging solution. The height and weight of a patient does not determine the amount of solution needed to purge your colon. Remember, we are trying to clean out your entire digestive tract. If your colon is not clean, the physician cannot do a thorough exam. We may have to reschedule your test for another day.

What if I start vomiting while drinking the solution?

If you develop symptoms of nausea or vomiting, stop the prep for an hour then resume the process. If you were not able to complete the prep, call our office at (816) 561-2000 and the physician on call will assist you. It may be necessary to reschedule your procedure and try an alternative prep.

What are clear liquids?

Clear liquids include black coffee, tea, soda pop (Coke, Pepsi, 7-Up or Sprite), apple juice, Gatorade, Popsicles, Jell-O, broth, and bouillon. Do not consume any milk products or anything that is red or purple.

Do I need to bring medical records (previous procedure reports) with me?

Yes. If your procedure was done by another physician, reports are needed because follow-ups vary with previous findings. If you had previous colon polyps, the physician will know from the report the location and size of the polyps.

Procedure Related Questions

Why do I need to bring someone to drive me home after my procedure?

Because of the sedation given during your procedure, you will need a friend or family member to come with you and drive you home. These medications make the test easier for the patient, but do not wear off immediately. For your safety, you should not operate machinery or drive following your procedure. During your recovery time, your family will be allowed to sit with you until you are discharged. You may not use public transportation unless accompanied by family or a friend.

How long will my procedure take?

The actual procedure will take 15-20 minutes. Registration, pre-operative and post-operative care will keep you in our facility approximately 1½ to 2 hours.

How long will I have to wait for the results of my procedure?

The physician will speak with you about the visual findings on your procedure before you go home. If biopsies were taken or polyps removed, you should call the office for results a week from your procedure date.

How soon may I eat after my procedure?

Unless your physician gives you dietary restrictions, you are free to eat a normal breakfast or lunch after leaving our endoscopy center.

How soon may I return to work?

Most patients are able to return to work the following day.

What about follow-up care?

Follow-up care is an important part of your treatment plan. We have a recall system that notifies the patient by mail when you are due for follow up care such as an office visit, labs or procedure. Once you receive your recall letter, please contact our scheduling department to schedule your next appointment.

Will the results of my visit be sent to my primary care physician?

Our findings and recommendations will be discussed with you and a letter and/or copy of your procedure note will be forwarded to your primary care physician for their records.

What is virtual colonoscopy and can I have that instead?

Virtual colonoscopy is a technique designed to reconstruct three-dimensional images of the colon using a CAT scan. Studies have suggested that this technique might miss a significant percentage of smaller polyps that can be found with colonoscopy. Virtual colonoscopy requires you to be cleansed just as if you were having a traditional colonoscopy. Furthermore, if polyps were detected by virtual colonoscopy, you would still need a traditional colonoscopy to remove these polyps, thus resulting in two procedures. We do not recommend virtual colonoscopy as an adequate screening test.