Upper Endoscopy/Gastroscopy Information
Gastroscopy is a procedure in which a flexible tube with a “video camera” at the tip, is passed through the oesophagus, stomach and first part of the small bowel. It permits these areas to be inspected as well as specialised procedures such as biopsies, polypectomy, diathermy and dilations to be performed.
We perform gastroscopy procedures multiple times per week both in the public and private system. All private procedures are billed No-Gap to your health fund and usually can be arranged within 1-3 weeks. Waiting time in the public system through Westmead or Auburn hospitals is based on clinical priority and is between 1-5 months.
This test is performed to investigate symptoms such as bleeding, pain, nausea and difficulty swallowing to name a few. Other specialised techniques may be performed during the procedure. Biopsies are samples of tissue which may be performed for many reasons including looking for infection, testing that the small bowel is functioning well and diagnosing tissues which don’t look normal, including conditions such as coeliac disease and pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions. We can pass instruments through the endoscope to directly treat many abnormalities with little or no discomfort, for example; stretching a narrowed area, removing polyps or treating bleeding.
Preparation for the procedure
An empty stomach is essential for a safe examination, so you should have nothing to eat or drink, including water, for approximately 6 hours before the examination. The hospital will tell you when to start fasting. Tell us in advance about any medications you take; you might need to adjust your usual dose for the examination, this is particularly important if you are diabetic. Discuss any allergies to medications as well as medical conditions, such as heart or lung disease. Also, alert us if you require antibiotics prior to undergoing dental procedures, because you might need antibiotics prior to upper endoscopy as well.
Additional procedures may be needed during a gastroscopy such as:
- Oesophageal dilatation for difficulty swallowing
- Variceal banding for varices or GAVE (gastric antral vascular ectasia)
- Botulinum injection for achalasia or gastroparesis
- Cauterization for vascular lesions
- Removal of foreign bodies food bolus or biliary stents.
During the procedure
Your procedure will be done under deep sedation with an anaesthetist. You will lie on your left side for the procedure. The endoscope doesn’t interfere with your breathing. You are unlikely to remember anything of the procedure.
After the procedure
You will be monitored until most of the effects of the medication have worn off. Your throat might be a little sore, and you might feel bloated because of the air introduced into your stomach during the test. You will be able to eat after you leave unless we instruct you otherwise. You must arrange for someone to accompany you home because the sedatives may affect your judgment and reflexes for the rest of the day. If you have sedation you must not drive until the next day.
Possible complications of upper endoscopy
Although complications can occur, they are extremely rare. Bleeding can occur at a biopsy site or where a polyp was removed, but it’s usually minimal and rarely requires follow-up. Other potential risks include a reaction to the sedative used, complications from heart or lung diseases, and perforation (a tear in the gastrointestinal tract lining). If you have a fever after the test, trouble swallowing or increasing throat, chest or abdominal pain, please contact us immediately