Procedural Information – Gastroscopy

What is a Gastroscopy?

Gastroscopy is an examination of the upper digestive tract (the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum) using an endoscope – a long, thin, flexible tube containing a camera and a light – to view the lining of these organs.

Why do I need to have a gastroscopy?

After a careful medical assessment, your doctor has recommended that you should have a gastroscopy examination, a non-surgical technique that can aid in diagnosing problems of the upper digestive system. Based on the results of this exam, your doctor can then suggest the best course of treatment for your problem. More accurate than a barium x-ray and much simpler than exploratory surgery, gastroscopy is a safe and highly effective diagnostic technique.

How do I prepare for the exam?


What does a gastroscopy involve?

Your mouth will be sprayed with a local anaesthetic mouthwash, which tastes a little unpleasant, and makes your throat feel numb. You will be given a sedative injection, which will make you feel drowsy and relaxed. It will be necessary to remove any dentures before the examination. It is possible to have endoscopy performed without sedative if you prefer, but it is more comfortable if a sedative is used.

When the sedative is working, the endoscope, a flexible tube about the size of a pencil, will be placed into your mouth and you will be asked to swallow. You may be aware of the instrument and feel a slight gagging sensation, but the instrument will pass very quickly and feels comfortable when in position.

During the examination, a biopsy, a small sample of tissue, may be taken – this is completely painless and safe. If necessary, some conditions may be treated through the endoscope – for example, narrowing of the esophagus can be corrected by dilatation, or ulcers which have been bleeding can be treated to prevent further loss of blood.

It will only take a few minutes for a thorough examination to be completed, then the instrument will be removed, and you will be taken to the recovery area to rest until the sedative wears off. When you have recovered, the results will be discussed with you before you leave.

IT IS ESSENTIAL YOU HAVE SOMEONE TO TAKE YOU HOME IF YOU ARE GIVEN A SEDATIVE – You must not drive or operate machinery for the rest of the day.

What are the risks and benefits?
Endoscopy is the most reliable and accurate way to investigate the stomach and obtain biopsies, and the risks are extremely low. The sedatives used are effective in low dose and side-effects are very rare. Damage to or perforation of the oesophagus and stomach are also extremely rare. Once completed, the sedative and anaesthetic wear off quickly without lasting effects. You may feel a slight sore throat for a few hours only. The risks of perforation is a little higher if dilatation or endoscopic treatments are required, but these procedures are still extremely safe. If you have serious disease of your heart, lungs etc, or have diabetes requiring Insulin or tablet treatment, please contact me to discuss any special requirements for the examination. If you have any questions or concerns you wish to discuss before endoscopy, please telephone 90 444 200 for an appointment to discuss the procedure with your consultant.