A gastroscopy is where the doctor uses an instrument called an endoscope to look at the inside lining of your oesophagus (food pipe), stomach and duodenum (first part of the small intestine). This is done to look at reasons as to why you may have swallowing problems, nausea, vomiting, reflux, bleeding, indigestion, abdominal pain or chest pain.
Your symptoms or previous tests suggest that you may have a stricture (narrowing) of the oesophagus which causes food to get stuck. A dilatation gently stretches the structured area.
An endoscope is a long, thin, flexible tube with a small camera and light attached which allows the doctor to see the pictures of the inside of your gut on a video screen. The scope also blows air into your stomach; this expands the folds of tissue in your stomach so that the doctor sees the stomach lining better. As a result, you might feel some pressure, bloating or cramping during the procedure.
This instrument can also be used to remove or burn growths or to take tissue biopsies.
You will then lie on your left side, and the doctor will pass the endoscope into your mouth and down your oesophagus (food pipe), stomach and duodenum (first part of the small intestine). After this, a dilator or a balloon will be passed to stretch the stricture. Your doctor will examine the lining again as the endoscope is taken out.
Neither the endoscope nor dilators cause problems with your breathing.
You should plan on 2 to 3 hours for waiting, preparation and recovery. The procedure itself usually takes anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes. If the doctor sees anything unusual or want to test for bacteria in the stomach they may need to take a biopsy (small pieces of tissue) for testing at Pathology.
This procedure may or may not require a sedation anaesthetic.
The procedure can be uncomfortable and to make the procedure more comfortable a sedative injection or a light anaesthetic can be given. If you prefer, it can be done without sedation.
Before the procedure begins the doctor;
will put a drip into a vein in your hand or forearm.
This is where the sedation or anaesthetic is injected and
may spray your throat with a numbing agent that will help prevent gagging.
Sedation is the use of drugs that give you a ‘sleepy like’ feeling. It makes you feel very relaxed during a procedure that may be otherwise unpleasant or painful.
You may remember some or little about what has occurred during the procedure.
Anaesthesia is generally very safe but every anaesthetic has a risk of side effects and complications. Whilst these are usually temporary, some of them may cause long-term problems.
The risk to you will depend on:
There are risks and complications with this procedure.
They include but are not limited to the following.
Common risks and complications include:
Uncommon risks and complications include:
Rare risks and complications include:
You are less at risk of problems if you do the following:
Your stomach must be empty for the procedure to be safe and thorough, so you will not be able to eat or drink anything for at least six hours before the procedure.
Your doctor may take a biopsy (a very small piece of the stomach lining) to be examined at Pathology.
Biopsies are used to identify many conditions even if cancer is not thought to be the problem.
Your symptoms may become worse and the doctor will not be able to give you the correct treatment without knowing the cause of your problems.
No. Your doctor could discuss with you other ways of managing your condition.
You will remain in the recovery area for about 2 hours until the effect of the sedation wears off.
Your doctor will tell you when you can eat and drink. Most times this is straight after the procedure.
Your throat may feel sore and you might have some cramping pain or bloating because of the air entering the stomach during the procedure.
You will be told what was found during the examination or you may need to come back to discuss
the results, and to find out the results of any biopsies that may have been taken.
Sedation will affect your judgment for about 24 hours.
For your own safety and in some cases legally;