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What is Gastroscopy


Gastroscopy is a procedure that takes a very close look at your digestive system, mainly your stomach.

Gastroscopy is often performed as a precursor to a colorectal surgery.

Gastroscopy is considered a minimally invasive procedure, and is performed via a small camera, called a video endoscope, that is inserted into a small incision in the abdomen.

A gastroscope is a flexible tube with a small fixture at the end and a video camera. The images from the video camera are sent to the screen.

With gastroscopy, the physicians are able to diagnose a wide range of conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, ulcers and celiac disease to name a few.

Let’s look into the what, how and when of having a gastroscopy done.


What Happens During a Gastroscopy?


 Gastroscopes are small telescopes that allows your doctor to view the insides of the body.

These devices range in size and shape, but most commonly fit in the colon, intestines and stomach for an inspection of their condition.

Gastroscopies are performed regularly in clinical settings to monitor patients with gastrointestinal defects or disease.

The procedure can be done with either sedation or require general anaesthesia- the anaesthesia is selected based on what areas of the digestive system need examination.

Once confirmed, a gastroenterologist will prepare your body for examination by swallowing small amounts of barium liquid to outline structures within your digestive tract.

A tube is then passed down this oesophagus into your stomach – this tube allows doctors to see structures on either side of it as medical providers apply pressure with various tools to look for abnormalities.


Why Should I Get a Gastroscopy?


Gastroscopy (examination of the stomach) can help confirm or rule out the presence of diseases such as:

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
  • Ulcers
  • Inflammation, or swelling
  • Precancerous abnormalities such as Barrett’s oesophagus
  • Celiac disease
  • Strictures or narrowing of the oesophagus
  • Blockages

Should you have any of the following symptoms, a gastroscopy can be performed:

  • Chronic or recurrent heartburn, nausea, or vomiting
  • Nausea for a longer time
  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Black bowel movements or blood in your bowel movements
  • Weight loss for no apparent reason
  • Suspicion of gastric ulcer
  • Suspected cancer of the oesophagus or stomach
  • Examination after gastric surgery 

gastrocscopy endoscope - Gastroscopy: What Is It, How It Works, And What You Can Expect

Your Preparation Before a Gastroscopy

One of the biggest mistakes that patients make is not to prepare for their Procedure.

There are lots of things you need to do, but also things you need to think about before the procedure.

Following the advice of your Gastroscopy involves precautions and preparations, such as Haemostasis (Control of bleeding), Medications (Side effects), Questions you must ask and answers your doctor should give.

To ensure a more pleasant experience, some tips for better preparation include:

  • Get some rest before procedure – It is very important that you get some sleep prior to the Procedure.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol just before procedure – Restricting fluids can contribute to swelling in throat, which can cause discomfort during the process. Follow your doctor’s advice.

gastroscopy procedure - Gastroscopy: What Is It, How It Works, And What You Can Expect


How Long Does Gastroscopy Take

Gastroscopy can take from 15 mins to an hour. For a small number of patients, it can take a little longer if various tests are performed during the procedure.

There will be a short discussion with the doctor who performs the procedure before going into surgery, which might take place at a day surgery unit in your local hospital or outpatient suite.

When it is finished you recover with lunch and some time for yourself in general, if you have been given medication before the procedure this wears off approximately 4-6 hours after it is administered.

Although most patients feel quite normal after being discharged.


What Happens After Your Gastroscopy?

What can I eat or drink?
If you have had throat spray for your procedure, it will take 30 minutes for your swallowing to return to normal.

After this time, you may have a cool drink – you are at risk of burning yourself with a hot drink. You may eat and drink normally after this time.

Your throat may feel a bit sore. If you have had sedation, you may eat and drink when you feel safe to do so.

When can I go back to work?
This depend whether you have had sedation or throat spray during your procedure.

We advise that you refrain from work for 24 hours if you have had sedation.

You must not operate machinery and your car insurance will not cover you to drive during this time. If you have had throat spray you may return to work when you feel safe to do so.

Will I be told any results after the procedure?
The endoscopist will speak to you after the procedure and explain any results to you. We will discuss the follow-up plan of care.

You will possibly be given a copy of your endoscopy report and a patient care report to explain any findings and give you advice for the next 24 hours.

gastroscopy risks procedure - Gastroscopy: What Is It, How It Works, And What You Can Expect


Risks of the Procedure


Many people are afraid of the prospect of a risk of gastroscopy.

The reason is because they are afraid of being diagnosed with something unpleasant or being unable to swallow.

There are several risks associated with undergoing a gastroscopy.

One potential problem that patients could face is an allergic reaction during the procedure.

If you’re allergic to latex or iodine, then there’s a risk that you could suffer an allergic reaction following your examination.

Importantly, most Doctors uses smooth rather than rough instruments so it should reduce the risk of tissue damage under normal circumstances.

The biggest danger involved in having gastroscopy done involves having something go wrong during the procedure itself which can lead to internal bleeding and may require immediate medical intervention.

The risks associated with a gastroscopy are not too high, but it is important for anyone who is going to have a gastroscopy to be aware of the risks and make sure they are communicated with their physician.


gastroscopy what it is how it works - Gastroscopy: What Is It, How It Works, And What You Can Expect



A healthy lifestyle is easier than all the medical surgeries and remedies in the world.

There are many ways to take control of your digestive system, which can cure all stomach ailments.

Diet, exercise, and stress management are the three keys to better digestion along with other essential elements like getting enough sleep, not smoking, etc.
The best way to deal with any health condition is by following simple lifestyle changes.

The body has an amazing capacity for self-healing; once you begin taking back control of your daily life, your symptoms will begin clearing up within a few weeks after surgery.

With no cure currently available, medications are the only treatment available to prevent complications from the disease.

People with Ulcerative Colitis can have complications, such as colon cancer or polyps, which can need to be removed.

For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of Ulcerative Colitis conditions in Johannesburg, contact Dr. Schneider or visit www.gidocjhb.co.za and book your consultation today.


The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

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