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A Gastroscopy is an internal examination of the lining of the oesophagus, stomach and upper duodenum with a small camera called a gastroscope which is inserted down the throat.

Why the procedure is performed

  • To evaluate unexplained anaemia
  • To evaluate abdominal pain, nausea or symptoms of reflux
  • To assess the cause of swallowing difficulties
  • To follow up previous findings such as barrettes' oesophagus, inflammatory bowel disease or ulcers
  • To obtain specimen biopsy

How the procedure is performed

An intravenous line will be inserted into your arm to administer medications.  A local anaesthetic will be sprayed into your mouth to suppress the need to cough or gag when the gastroscope is inserted. A mouth guard will be inserted to help keep your mouth open and also to protect your teeth. For the procedure, you will lie on your left side.

After you have received a sedative and pain reliever, the gastroscope is inserted into your mouth and advanced through the oesophagus (food pipe) to the stomach and duodenum. Air will be inserted through the scope to provide a better view. Suction within the camera may be used to remove secretions.

Tissue samples may be taken during the procedure. These sample are then sent to the laboratory for testing and these results will be available 7-10 days after your procedure.

A gastroscopy takes approximately 5-15 minutes but you will be at your appointment for up to 2 hours while we monitor you after your procedure

How to prepare for the procedure

Fasting ( no eating or drinking) is required for 6 hours before the procedure. If you are uncomfortably thirsty, you may sip water up until 2 hours before your appointment.

Unless otherwise instructed, continue taking any regular medications.

You must plan to have someone drive you home after the procedure as you will be woozy and are unable to drive until the following day.

How the procedure will feel

The sedative and pain medication will provide relaxation and produce a drowsy feeling. This is not a general anaesthetic, you will not be completely asleep for the procedure. 

The anaesthetic throat spray may make you feel as if you are unable to swallow. This is a safe and normal reaction and wears of shortly after the procedure. The gastroscope may stimulate some mild gagging in the back of the throat but this usually lasts only briefly.

Because of the intravenous sedation, you may not feel any discomfort and may have no memory of the procedure.

The risks

  • Perforation (hole/tear in the wall of the oesophagus, stomach or duodenum) requiring a repair operation (fewer than 1 out of 1,000 procedures)
  • Adverse reaction to sedative medication, causing breathing problems or low blood pressure during the procedure (4 out of 10,000 procedures)
  • Small risk of bleeding from biopsy sites (fewer than 1 out of 1,000 procedures)

Our Procedures

Procedure sheet download (PDF)


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