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What is a Gastroscopy?
Gastroscopy is a procedure in which an endoscope is inserted into the stomach and duodenum to search for diseases and abnormalities. The endoscope is a thin flexible tube with a camera and light attached to it. It is inserted from the mouth of the patient to the stomach. Pictures of the esophagus, stomach, and the duodenum taken by the endoscope are viewed on a monitor by the doctor. During a Gastroscopy tissue samples may be taken to perform biopsy for analysis of ulcers or any other disease. If there are bleeding ulcers, a Gastroscopy may be used to cauterize them.
How is a Gastroscopy performed?
Before a Gastroscopy, local anesthesia is sprayed on the back of the throat of the patient. This makes the throat numb and the patient will find it difficult to swallow. If sedatives are given to the patient, the patient will still be conscious and aware of the procedure. The patient needs to lie on the left side during the procedure. The patient will then be asked to put the endoscope into the mouth and swallow it. Some air is blown into the stomach to effectively perform the examination. The esophagus, stomach, and duodenum are closely examined during the procedure of Gastroscopy.
How to prepare for a Gastroscopy?
Before the procedure, the following things should be kept in mind:
Duration of procedure/surgery:
- The patient’s stomach should be empty before the gastroscopy.
- The patient should not have any food or liquids for at least 4 to 6 hours prior to the gastroscopy.
- The doctor should be informed if the patient is pregnant, diabetic, or has a heart or kidney problem.
- Any other health concerns should be reported to the doctor.
- Some medications that the patient may be taking are discontinued many days before the surgery.
- There are some medications that should be avoided some days before the surgery.
- Antibiotics may be given to the patient if the patient has had a heart surgery in the past that involved the use of artificial grafts.
10 to 15 minutes
None. Gastroscopy is done on an outpatient basis.
Local anesthesia is sprayed on the back of the throat of the patient before the procedure. The patient is conscious during the procedure.
- Patients who have undergone gastroscopy without the use of sedative can go home an hour or so after the procedure.
- Patients who have had a sedative will take longer to be discharged.
- The test results will be written on the discharge papers.
- Reports of any biopsy may take a few days.
Complications that are involved in a gastroscopy are very rare. The rare risks involved in a gastroscopy are as follows:
- Mild sore throat for a few days
- Drowsiness due to sedatives
- Chest infection
- Damage to the esophagus that may lead to bleeding and infection
- Abdominal pain
- Breathing difficulty
- Heart attack or stroke among old and unhealthy patients
- Allergic reaction to the sedative
- Patients who have had a sedative should not drive, operate machines, or consume alcohol for 24 hours after the procedure.
- The doctor’s instructions should be followed carefully.
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