At a glance
A gastroscopy is done using a thin tube with a camera attached to the end to visualise the upper gastrointestinal tract. A gastroscopy is a procedure done to diagnose and treat conditions of the oesophagus, stomach and small intestine. Your doctor may recommend it if you are suffering from issues such as difficulty swallowing, persistent stomach pain, and loss of weight. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD) or ulcers, blockages, growths or tumours are common diagnoses that may be found during a gastroscopy.
How to prepare for the procedure
Prior to a gastroscopy, you will need to prepare for the procedure by restricting your consumption. To ensure your stomach is empty for the gastroscopy, you should not eat for at least 6 hours before your procedure. A gastroscopy is an endoscopic procedure done on an outpatient basis in theatre under conscious sedation. The procedure is slightly uncomfortable but not painful. You may be required to stay in hospital post-procedure, based on the findings or any complications.
What a gastroscopy involves
The anaesthetic numbing spray is administered to your throat, and the procedure is performed while you are under conscious sedation. If medically indicated, you will be put under general anaesthetic. Dr Maraj will then insert the endoscope into your mouth. This is a thin tube fitted with a camera at the end. You will be asked to swallow the endoscope so that Dr Maraj may pass the tube down your upper gastrointestinal tract. On the screen, your surgeon will watch as the tube passes through the oesophagus into your stomach. At this point, Dr Maraj will inflate your stomach with air to allow for better visuals. Moving down your stomach and small intestine, she will be able to identify any abnormalities with the camera. This should be sufficient to make a diagnosis and plan treatment accordingly. If necessary, she may also take biopsies and perform any endoscopic interventions as needed.
What to expect post-procedure
Afterwards, you can expect a mild sore throat. Some bloating, gas, abdominal discomfort and cramping are to be expected if the air is pumped into your stomach. You may also experience anaesthesia associated side effects such as nausea.
In some cases, a general anaesthetic may be indicated. If this is the case, you may need to stay in the hospital overnight for observation after the procedure and or surgery. If you were put under conscious sedation for a gastroscopy, you would only be able to go home once the sedation has worn off and you have someone to drive you.
This is a guide to assist you with a basic understanding of the procedure. If you require any further information, please ask Dr Maraj directly.
Risks & complications
While complications are rare, they may still occur. Therefore, it is essential to know that guidelines and protocols are followed to prevent complications, and you will be closely monitored for complications such as perforation, bleeding, or infection. This will be appropriately treated and may require hospitalisation and further intervention.
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