Gastroscopy is a procedure that involves passing a thin flexible tube into the upper gastrointestinal tract (oesophagus, stomach and duodenum) to allow examination of the area. The tube is about the thickness of your little finger. The tube contains a fibre-optic light and a camera. The inside of the upper gastrointestinal tract can be viewed on a video screen. This procedure also allows the removal of polyps (small benign growths), injection of bleeding blood vessels, the taking of tissue samples (biopsies) for examination by a pathologist, and dilatation of strictures in the oesophagus.
Prior to the procedure you will be asked not to eat or drink. This is to allow a satisfactory examination and to minimise the risk of vomiting during the procedure. A minimum 8 hours fasting time for solid food is usually required prior to the procedure with clear liquids permitted up to 3 hours prior.
Gastroscopy is a relatively safe procedure, although complications can rarely occur. Complications are more common when a therapeutic procedure is performed such as dilatation of a stricture in the oesophagus, removal of polyps (polypectomy) from the stomach or biopsies taken. These may include:
- Excessive bleeding
- Lung infection due to vomiting and aspiration during the procedure
- Perforation or puncture of the lining of the oesophagus, stomach, or duodenum
- Anaesthetic complications
Hospital admission and possible surgery may be required to deal with a complication.
Coffs Harbour Health Campus
You may be advised to come to the Pre Admission Clinic at least one week before your procedure, where you will be seen by an anaesthetist and nursing staff. More details will be taken and you will be examined thoroughly. This is to check that you are fit and well enough to go ahead with the gastroscopy, which requires an intravenous sedation.
Baringa Private Hospital
The anaesthetist and nursing staff will see you on the day of your procedure at the hospital.
After the Gastroscopy
You will spend some time in the recovery ward after the procedure. You will recover quickly from the anaesthetic, but your memory may be affected and you may not recall what Dr Ramsay discusses with you after the procedure. For this reason an appointment may be made for you to attend the surgeon’s rooms so that the results of your gastroscopy and treatment recommendations can be fully discussed. Alternatively the results will be communicated to you by letter and/or telephone. A detailed report is always sent to your local doctor.
After the procedure, It is possible that you may experience:
- Mild cramping
These usually settle within a few hours.
Mild discomfort and irritation may occur in the throat as a result of the gastroscopy. This should subside within 24 – 48 hours.
You will be offered a drink and something light to eat about one hour after you are fully awake. Usually you can go home after about two hours.
YOU WILL NOT BE FIT TO DRIVE A CAR OR OTHER VEHICLE UNTIL THE FOLLOWING DAY.
YOU WILL NEED TO ARRANGE A RESPONSIBLE ADULT TO DRIVE YOU HOME AFTER THE PROCEDURE.