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Counties Manukau Health Gastroenterology and Hepatology

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Gastroscopy

It can often be difficult to make a diagnosis of gastric problems based on symptoms alone, for this reason your doctor may order a gastroscopy to confirm the diagnosis of your condition.
 
A gastroscopy involves using a long flexible tube that is small enough to enter via the mouth and travel down the digestive system.  This enables the doctor to see the inside of your stomach.
 
What Happens Before the Gastroscopy?
The gastroscopy is performed in the Endoscopy Unit at Middlemore Hospital Department of Gastroenterology or at Manukau SuperClinic.  You should not eat or drink anything for at least 6-8 hours prior to the examination.  Your doctor will explain the procedure to you prior to your examination and will get you to sign a consent form, saying that you agree to have the procedure.

How Long Does the Examination Take?
The test itself is usually no longer than about 4-5 minutes.  However, depending on your case and the findings, may take slightly more time but generally no longer than 10 minutes.
 
What Happens During the Gastroscopy?
You will be walked to the procedure room where you will be asked to lie on your left side.  An instrument that measures your pulse and oxygen levels will be placed on your finger.  Your throat will then be sprayed with an anaesthetic spray to numb it; if you have dentures these will also be removed.    For those who have their own teeth a mouth guard will be put in your mouth to protect your teeth.  A sedative will then be given via the drip in your arm or hand to help relax you - it will  not put you to sleep completely. You may also be given oxygen and this is given via a tube that fits into your nose.
 
The tube will then be placed into your mouth and the doctor will instruct you to swallow it. At first you may feel uncomfortable but once the gastroscope is in place the rest of the procedure should cause little or no discomfort.  An examination of your food pipe and stomach is then performed.  If needed, a biopsy can be taken while the examination tube is in place.  A biopsy is when a small amount of tissue is taken from the lining of the stomach and examined later.  You will not feel the biopsy being taken.
 
What Happens After the Gastroscopy?
You will be taken on your bed into the recovery room.  Here the nurse will check your blood pressure and pulse.  You will be given time to wake completely before being discharged (approximately 30-45 mins).
 
After the examination you may feel a little drowsy as the sedative wears off.  You can usually eat and drink half an hour after the examination.  The results of the examination will be sent to your doctor and these and any treatment details will be discussed with you.
 
Are There Any Risks?
As with any procedure there are risks but these are very rare and a gastroscopy is considered one of the safest medical procedures you can have.  Risks may include, bleeding, perforation of the stomach lining and discomfort.  Your doctor will discuss these with you, before you sign the patient consent form.

This page was last updated at 3:01PM on June 5, 2019.