Dr. Schneider provides rapid assessment, intervention and treatment for numerous common and complex stomach conditions.
Whether you are an inpatient or an outpatient, you will be cared for by Dr Schneider and his team of professionals who are dedicated to ensuring that you receive the best possible treatment and advice.
All GiDoc clinical staff are highly qualified within their field and undergo regular, extensive training. This ensures the highest standards of care, aiding patients with a faster recovery.
When patients come to our gastroenterology practice, we aim to see them as quickly as possible, and make a diagnosis using the most appropriate and effective tests.
In this post, we’ll discuss Gastroscopy.
What is a Gastroscopy?
Gastroscopy is an examination where a Gastroenterologist passes a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope through your mouth and into your esophagus, stomach and small intestine (bowel).
This tube has a light and a camera at the end which takes pictures of what is seen and feeds the images into a monitor allowing the Gastroenterologist to examine the lining and check for any abnormalities such as inflammation or ulcers.
More information can be found here.
Why is a Gastroscopy Needed?
Your gastroscopy findings will help your doctor decide on which treatment is best to help you or whether further examinations are needed to be carried out.
A gastroscopy may be recommended if you have symptoms that suggest a problem with the stomach.
This could be difficulty swallowing or unexplained weight loss. The procedure can help to diagnose the underlying cause of these symptoms.
Other reasons may include:
- Investigate problems such as difficulty swallowing, indigestions, abnormal bleeding, low levels of iron, anemia, vomiting, unintentional weight loss and heartburn
- Diagnose conditions or find out the cause of symptoms such as stomach ulcers or gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), nausea and vomiting
- To screen for and prevent stomach cancer
- To remove foreign objects
- Treat conditions such as bleeding ulcers, a blockage in the oesophagus, non-cancerous growths (polyps) or small cancerous tumours.
During a Gastroscopy
A gastroscopy examination often takes less than 20 minutes, although it may take longer if it’s being used to treat a condition.
It’s almost always carried out as an outpatient procedure, which means you won’t have to spend the night in hospital.
Your nurse or Gastroenterologist will then explain the procedure and ask you to sign a consent form. This is a good time to ask any questions you might have.
Before the procedure, your throat will be numbed with a local anaesthetic spray.
Usually, you’re awake when you have the test, but you can choose to have sedative medicine to relax and make you drowsy.
The procedure shouldn’t be painful, but it may be unpleasant or uncomfortable at times.
Some endoscopy units may ask you to change into a hospital gown, but you can usually have the test in your own clothes if you prefer.
A small plastic mouth guard will be placed gently between your teeth to help you keep your mouth slightly open and make it easier for your doctor to pass the endoscope (camera).
Your Gastroenterologist will start by gently inserting the gastroscope through your mouth and into the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum.
Using the video images, your doctor can examine your food pipe and stomach lining to look for redness or inflammations. If necessary, a tissue sample will be taken.
When the examination is finished, the gastroscope will be removed carefully.
After a Gastroscopy
Your nurse or Gastroenterologist will talk to you about how the test went, if they took any biopsies and when to expect the results.
You might have some bloating and discomfort lasting a few hours after the gastroscopy.
Because of the sedative given to you before the procedure, it may also affect your memory for a few hours afterwards and you may still be feeling drowsy.
For this reason, a relative or friend should come with you and drive you home if possible.
After the sedative you should not:
- drive a car for 24 hours
- drink alcohol for at least 24 hours
- operate machinery for 24 hours
- sign any important documents until the next day
- undertake any other activities likely to place you at risk.
Although the doctor may briefly run through the findings of the gastroscopy with you once the sedative has worn off, a follow-up appointment is usually made to discuss the test results in more detail.
What are the Possible Risks or Complications of a Gastroscopy?
A gastroscopy is generally a very safe procedure, but like all medical procedures it does carry a risk of complications.
Possible complications can include a sore throat or a numb feeling in your mouth which is caused by the anaesthetic spray.
Complications like bleeding and injury to organs are very rare. The gastroscope may cause minimal damage to your teeth when it is put into your mouth.
Only in very rare cases do sedatives lead to complications such as breathing problems or cardiovascular problems.
Occasionally, sedation can cause problems with your breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.
The risks are higher in older people and those with lung or heart problems. Your nurse closely watches you for any problems during the test, so they can treat it quickly.
Getting Your Results
You should get your results within 2 weeks. The results are sent to you and your gastroenterologist or you may get them at a follow up appointment.
However, if a biopsy sample was removed, this might take up to six to eight weeks.