Gastroscopy is a common test used to look inside the oesophagus, stomach and the small intestine (duodenum). It has become a great tool for diagnosing and examining the gastrointestinal system. It is also used to carry out some forms of treatment.

What is a Gastroscopy?

A gastroscopy involves a qualified medical professional looking closely at your upper gastrointestinal tract. The doctor uses an endoscope to look inside and check for any evidence of abnormalities or concerns. An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube that contains a light and video camera in its tip. This tip is used to display images of your gastrointestinal tract on a screen. This allows the doctor to see any issues clearly.

The endoscope also can be equipped with a range of instruments. This means it can be used for small procedures, including collecting biopsies from the stomach lining.

What happens during a Gastroscopy?

Patients are made as comfortable as possible and the procedure usually takes place as an outpatient appointment. First, your throat may be numbed using a local anaesthetic, and you may have the option of sedation if you prefer it. You then need to swallow the first section of the endoscope. This can be unpleasant and difficult but should not cause too much discomfort. Once inside, the doctor can pass the endoscope down into your gastrointestinal tract. As it moves downwards, the doctor closely monitors images on the screen to spot any abnormalities or concerns.

As mentioned, the doctor may take small biopsies of your gut’s lining for further testing. Again, this should be completely painless. Gastroscopies are usually quick procedures, and the investigation may be enough to provide a diagnosis. However, you may need further testing in some cases, or the biopsies will need to be sent to the lab for examination before anything is confirmed.

After the procedure, most people are usually ready to go home within half an hour or so. You will be monitored to ensure you feel ready to leave and informed of the next steps in your treatment. Patients who opt for a sedative will need to wait a little longer in recovery.

How reliable is Gastroscopy?

Nothing gives 100% correct results, and your gastroscopy may or may not uncover anything untoward. It is a reliable test for seeing abnormalities in the upper gut. However, sometimes a repeat gastroscopy may be advised if symptoms persist or become worse, even if a previous gastroscopy was reported as normal. In most instances, a gastroscopy gives your doctor the insight they need to take the next steps in your treatment.

Dr Haidry is a highly experienced endoscopist. He regularly carries out investigative and diagnostic gastroscopies for patients with a range of symptoms. Contact us to find out more about appointment availability.


Image source: OpenStax College, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons