What is gastroscopy?

Gastroscopy or upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is a procedure to visualise the inside of the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum (first part of the small intestine). It involves the use of a thin flexible tube called an endoscope that is inserted through your mouth to reach the intestines. The endoscope contains a camera and light source, which provides a clear magnified view of these structures. Instruments may be inserted through the endoscope to carry out certain procedures.

What are the indications of gastroscopy?

A gastroscopy may be performed for diagnostic or therapeutic reasons. It can be used to determine the cause for abdominal pain or swallowing abnormalities. It can identify stomach ulcers, polyps, tumours and conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease. Instruments may be used to clear an oesophageal blockage, treat a bleeding ulcer or remove a tumour.

How do I prepare for gastroscopy?

You will be advised to fast and not eat or drink anything for 4-8 hours before the procedure. You will be advised on the medications that you can take and those you need to stop.

How is gastroscopy performed?

Gastroscopy is performed as a day procedure. A sedative may be administered to keep you comfortable. Your throat is first numbed with an anaesthetic spray. The endoscope is then introduced through your mouth and you are asked to swallow the tip of the tube. The tube is then slowly guided down your oesophagus, through your stomach into the duodenum (first part of your intestine). Your doctor carefully evaluates these structures as the scope passes through and if possible treatment is performed through the scope. The entire procedure takes about 15 minutes, or longer if a corrective procedure is being performed.

What can I expect after gastroscopy?

After gastroscopy, you will be taken to a recovery room where you will be monitored. You can leave the hospital as soon as the effects of the anaesthesia wear off. You will be given instructions on your diet.

What is my post gastroscopy recovery and care?

Consult your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dark stools
  • Severe or persistent abdominal pain
  • Chest pain
  • Vomiting

Are there any risks and complications of gastroscopy?

Gastroscopy is usually quite safe, but may rarely be associated with certain complications such as damage to the inner lining of the tract, which can lead to perforation or bleeding.

Click here to find out more about Upper GI Endoscopy in this interactive presentation.

What is the cost of the procedure?

We will provide you with a full explanation of the costs of the operation to assist you in your decision to proceed. The costs will vary depending on your level of private health insurance.

Ongoing research on gastroscopy include:

  1. Suvak B, Kekilli M, Beyazıt Y, Okten S, Tanoglu A, Sasmaz N. Is computerised tomography better than fibreoptic gastroscopy for early detection of gastric varices? Prz Gastroenterol. 2017;12(1):34-37.
  2. Cai G, Huang Z, Zou T, et al. Clinical application of a novel endoscopic mask: A randomized controlled trial in aged patients undergoing painless gastroscopy. Int J Med Sci. 2017 Feb 8;14(2):167-172.