An upper GI is also called an EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy). It's basically a visual examination of the upper intestinal tract using a lighted scope. Your doctor may have ordered it to help him diagnose, identify or correct a problem in the upper intestinal tract so that specific treatment can be given.
This procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis. It takes between 15-30 minutes usually and there is no pain involved. You won't remember much about it because of the medication they give you.
As for how much it cost, there's really no way of giving you an answer since every hospital and doctor has a different fee. The doctor will have his fee, the hospital will have their fee. There will be a charge for any medications used, and probably any labs...unless that's included with the hospital. Plus if the doctor does a biopsy during the procedue, it may be more. I wouldn't want to estimate. I'm guessing it would be well over $2000 though to give you an idea.
There's also a test called an "Upper GI series", which is a completely different test. This one is more like an x-ray and can diagnose pretty much the same things - hiatal hernias, ulcers, GERD and other abnormalities and stomach conditions. It can also check the muscles that control swallowing to make sure the swallowing reflex is not impaired in people who experience problems swallowing. They have you drink pretty horrid, thick chalky stuff-barium-, which coats the esophagus and stomach. The barium makes everything show up more clearly on the x-rays. Then the x-rays are taken. The progress of the the barium (the stuff they have everyone drink) through the digestive tract can be followed. The doctor can change your position from standing to lying down for certain parts of the test (depending on what functions they are testing). It is an easy test to have. It takes anywhere from 45 minutes to several hours. The only thing definitely not nice is the barium. It makes some people gag during the test and afterwards.
Last edited by flowergirl2day; 09-19-2008 at 02:32 PM.
I just had an Upper GI series (the one with barium, not the Endoscopy the first poster told you about), and they told me it will cost $425. I haven't received the bill yet, so there might be some additional costs for the barium liquid. My test included the regular upper GI that looks at the Stomach and esophagus, and the Small Bowel Follow-through, which looks at the small intestine. The doctor told me that the Small bowel test rarely shows anything. The regular Upper GI might be a little less.
I'm also scheduled for an upper Endoscopy (which the first poster told you about), and I'm guessing it will cost a lot more because of the anasthesia. I don't know if it's really necessary to have both tests done, or which one is considered best.
If you're having stomach pain or pain on the right side (under your ribs), the doctor might also want you to have a HIDA scan and an Ultrasound of your liver and gallbladder. Just for reference, I got my bill today for a HIDA scan (which tests your Gall Bladder function) and all the charges totalled about $750. Insurance paid $280, I paid $42, and $432 was listed as an insurance company "write off."
I saw your question before I called the lab about my bill, and I asked her how much it would cost if I didn't have insurance. She couldn't give me a number, but she said they usually do charge less if someone doesn't have insurance coverage. Many doctors will reduce their charges if you don't have coverage, but you should ask them first before it goes to their billing office. Based on the "write-off" shown on my bill, I suspect that you might pay less than half of the regular charge.
If your income is low enough, you might also qualify for free or lowcost insurance. In my state it's about $150 a month if you make less than about $2100 a month. It's free if you have low income and less than $3000 in savings. If you think you might be able to get coverage soon, it might be wise to wait to get any tests done, because many policies don't cover pre-existing conditions. But otherwise, don't let a lack of insurance keep you from getting the health care you need.