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  • What is a gastroscopy?

    GastroscopyGastroscopy, also known as upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy, is a safe examination to visualise the lining of the oesophagus (food pipe), stomach and small intestine. It uses a long and flexible tube called a gastroscope that is inserted through the mouth and carefully pushed down the oesophagus to the stomach and the small intestine. Gastroscopy is used to diagnose stomach problems and perform biopsies.

  • A doctor may recommend a gastroscopy examination if a patient has certain symptoms including nausea, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, heartburn, upper-abdominal pain that does not go away, unexplained weight loss and bloating. 

    Gastroscopy is also used as a routine screening for people who have a history of ulcers or polyps, to screen for stomach cancer and to check for abnormal findings detected on previous CT scan or X-ray tests.

    Gastroscopy can be used to treat certain conditions such as to remove a foreign body that has been swallowed by accident such as a fishbone. It can also be used to stop bleeding from ulcers, and cut out polyps or small stomach tumours.

  • A gastroscopy is a short procedure, usually taking less than 15 minutes. The procedure is performed under a local anaesthetic spray to numb your throat. The local anaesthetic spray is administered and a small plastic mouth guard is placed in the mouth to hold it open and protect the teeth. A sedative medication may be given to help the patient relax.

    With the patient lying down on their left-hand side, the endoscopist inserts the endoscope into the throat. The endoscope must be swallowed to help it move down the oesophagus. This may feel uncomfortable initially and cause a sick feeling or gagging.  

    As the endoscope moves down the oesophagus, the following may be done:

    • Observation of the upper digestive tract for any abnormalities through images that are transmitted from the endoscope to the monitor.
    • Gentle blowing of air into the stomach to allow for a better view. Any unusual redness, holes, lumps, blockages or other abnormalities can be seen.
    • A biopsy (tissue sample) may be removed if any abnormalities are detected. This is painless and will not be felt.
    Once the examination is completed, the endoscope is gently pulled out through the mouth. You will be taken to a recovery area to rest for an hour or so until the sedative begins to wear off.

    Preparing for a gastroscopy

    You may need to stop taking medications for some time before the procedure. No food should be consumed for 6 to 8 hours before the procedure and avoid fluids 2 to 3 hours before. Arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure and stay with you for at least 24 hours. Consult your doctor for detailed advice.

    For more information on preparing your bowels before a gastroscopy, download our ‘Preparing for a Gastroscopy / Colonoscopy’ brochure.

    Risks of a gastroscopy

    There are small risks of possible complications of a gastroscopy. These includes a reaction to the sedation, a burning sensation at the site of injection, an irregular heartbeat, or breathing difficulties. Bleeding may occur due to accidental damage to a blood vessel.
  • The endoscopy centre at Gleneagles Hospital provides a range of diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic procedures.

    These include gastroscopy, colonoscopy, bronchoscopy and cystoscopy, as well as endoscopic submucosal dissection and insertion of percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy.

    Your goal of getting the most appropriate treatment is our strength. Our skilled team of specialists and staff at Gleneagles Hospital is committed to placing your needs foremost. Quality and customised healthcare has been our legacy for more than 60 years.

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    There are 26 SpecialistsView All