Gastroscopy (also known as Upper Endoscopy, EGD, or esophagogastroduodenoscopy) is a procedure that allows a doctor to look inside your esophagus ( food pipe that extends from mouth to stomach ), stomach and duodenum ( first part of the small intestine that begins at the lower end of the stomach ). It is done using a thin, flexible tube called gastroscope that has a light and camera at one end.
The gastroscopy procedure
A gastroscopy often takes less than 15 minutes, although it may take longer if it’s being used to treat a condition.It’s usually carried out as an outpatient procedure, which means you won’t have to spend the night in hospital.
Before the procedure, your throat will be numbed with a local anaesthetic spray. You can also choose to have a sedative, if you prefer. This means you will still be awake, but will be drowsy and have reduced awareness about what’s happening.
The doctor carrying out the procedure will place the endoscope in the back of your mouth and ask you to swallow the first part of the tube. It will then be guided down your oesophagus and into your stomach.
The procedure shouldn’t be painful, but it may be unpleasant or uncomfortable at times.
What are the uses of Gastroscopy?
A gastroscopy can be used to:
1.investigate problems such as difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) or persistent abdominal (tummy) pain
2.diagnose conditions such as stomach ulcers or gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD)
3.treat conditions such as bleeding ulcers, a blockage in the oesophagus, non-cancerous growths (polyps) or small cancerous tumours
A gastroscopy used to check symptoms or confirm a diagnosis is known as a diagnostic gastroscopy. A gastroscopy used to treat a condition is known as a therapeutic gastroscopy.
What preparation is needed before a Gastroscopy?
The procedure will be explained to you in detail. Certain medications ( ex. Anticoagulants like Aspirin ) need to be stopped a few days prior to the procedure. As the stomach needs to be empty for the procedure, you will be asked to stop intake of any food or water for a few hours prior. Gastroscopy is done as an out-patient/day-care procedure which means you do not need to stay overnight at the hospital.
Does Gastroscopy have any side-effects?
The procedure isn’t painful, but some may find it a little uncomfortable. There may be a numb feeling in the mouth and throat for a while after the procedure ( due to the anesthetic used ). Sometimes air is pumped into the stomach for better visualization which may leave you feeling full.
What are the risks involved in a Gastroscopy?
Gastroscopy is extremely safe but like any medical procedure it may have complications. Possible rare complications include:
• Reaction to the sedative if used
• Injury to inner lining of the organs