At My Surgical Specialist, our experts specialise in performing all aspects of endoscopy, whether as part of the process of investigating your symptoms or as a treatment for your condition. In combination with the excellent facilities available to you, this ensures that you receive the highest quality service and reassurance that you need.
Common Questions About Gastroscopy
What is a gastroscopy?
A gastroscopy is an investigation which looks at the lining of your oesophagus (also known as food pipe or gullet), stomach and the first part of your small intestines (the duodenum).
It involves you swallowing a camera whilst awake. A lens at the end of the camera is linked to a screen which the doctor will carefully examine for any abnormalities.
How long does it take?
The test itself usually takes no more than five minutes to perform. If we need to take samples of tissue (known as biopsies), the gastroscopy can take a few minutes longer. If you are having a specific treatment which involves a gastroscopy, then the test can take approximately 20 minutes.
In total, you will need to set aside approximately 2-4 hours for a gastroscopy, especially if you decide to have a sedative before the procedure, as we will need to make sure that you are well enough to be discharged from hospital.
Will it hurt?
You should not feel pain during this procedure, however, some patients are anxious about swallowing a camera. All patients are offered a local anaesthetic spray to numb the back of the throat and for most people, this is sufficient. If you prefer, you can ask to be given some sedation to make you more sleepy and less aware during the gastroscopy. Should you choose this option, you will need to stay in hospital for longer until the sedative has worn off and ensure that someone is able to take you home.
How do I prepare for it?
Before you undergo your gastroscopy, you will receive a full and comprehensive guide about how to prepare. Typically, you should not eat or drink for six hours before your test. It is also important to let the doctors know beforehand if you take any blood thinning tablets as this may affect whether you can have your gastroscopy, particularly if the doctor wants to take any tissue samples (biopsies).
Are there any risks?
If you are undergoing a gastroscopy to diagnose or investigate a problem, the risk of suffering a complication is approximately 1 in 1000 (i.e. 1 in every 1000 patients suffer a complication). If you are undergoing a gastroscopy to treat a condition, then the risk of a complication is 1 in 100.
The main complications are bleeding (which can occur if you are on blood thinning tablets) and perforation (making a tear or a hole).
Although these risks are small, Mr Alkhaffaf will always talk to you about possible complications prior to undertaking any procedure.