A gastroscopy is a procedure where a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope is used to look inside the oesophagus (gullet), stomach and first part of the small intestine (duodenum). The endoscope has a light and a high definition video camera at the tip to allow inspection of the inner lining of the upper GI tract.
Gastroscopy is done to help diagnose the cause of upper abdominal pain and swallowing problems, diagnose ulcers and oesophagitis and treat problems such as bleeding ulcers, blockage/narrowing of the oesophagus and early cancers.
Gastroscopy is usually performed as an outpatient day procedure so you will not be in hospital overnight. The procedure takes about 10-15 minutes. You will usually be unaware of the procedure as a sedative will be given by a specialist anaesthetist and you will experience no discomfort or pain.
A gastroscopy is a very safe procedure, but like all medical procedures it does carry a risk of complications. Possible complications that can occur include:
- a reaction to the sedative, which can cause problems with your breathing, heart rate and blood pressure
- internal bleeding
- tearing (perforation) of the lining of your oesophagus, stomach or duodenum