This is a procedure which allows the doctor to see inside your oesophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine (duodenum) and examine the lining directly.
What to expect
The gastroscope is a plastic-coated tube about as thin as a ballpoint pen and is flexible. It has a tiny camera attached that sends images to a viewing screen. During the test you will swallow the tube but the back of your throat is sprayed with anaesthetic so you don’t feel this. You will be offered a sedative (medicine that will make you sleepy but is not a general anaesthetic) as well. If the doctor sees any abnormalities they can take a biopsy (a small piece of tissue) to send to the laboratory for testing.
This is not a painful procedure and will be performed at our endoscopy suite within Southern Cross North Harbour private hospital by a specialist doctor with nurses assisting.
Complications from this procedure are very rare but can occur. They include:
- bleeding after a biopsy, if performed
- an allergic reaction to the sedative or throat spray
- perforation (tearing) of the stomach with the instrument (this is a serious but extremely rare complication).
Before the procedure
Full information will be sent to you to read in advance, but in short: you will be asked not to eat anything from about four hours before the procedure and you may need to stop some of your medications on the day of the procedure. You will have the chance to ask questions of the nurse and doctor plus watch a video of the procedure beforehand if you wish.
After the procedure
You will stay in the day stay unit until the sedation has worn off which usually takes 1-2 hours. You will be given something to eat or drink before you go home. If you have been sedated, you are not to drive until the following day.
You will be given a full written report and explanation before you return home. If biopsies are taken these will be sent for analysis and results are available within a week. A report and copies of these are sent to your GP.