Gastroscopy is a procedure that allows a doctor to look inside your esophagus ( food pipe that extends from mouth to stomach ), stomach and duodenum ( first part of the small intestine that begins at the lower end of the stomach ). It is done using a thin, flexible tube called gastroscope that has a light and camera at one end.
Common indications for a gastroscopy include:
The procedure will be explained to you in detail. Certain medications ( ex. Anticoagulants like Aspirin ) need to be stopped a few days prior to the procedure. As the stomach needs to be empty for the procedure, you will be asked to stop intake of any food or water for a few hours prior. Gastroscopy is done as an out-patient/day-care procedure which means you do not need to stay overnight at the hospital.
Shortly before the procedure, your throat will be numbed using an anesthetic be asked to swallow it so that it enters the esophagus. The tube is then gently pushed into the stomach and up to the duodenum. NOTE: A lot of people are worried about gagging or feeling choked. Although these apprehensions are quite obvious, the local anesthetic used, helps a great deal in masking these sensations. Hence, a minor discomfort is all you may feel. Gastroscopy is easily tolerated by all.
The procedure isn’t painful, but some may find it a little uncomfortable. There may be a numb feeling in the mouth and throat for a while after the procedure ( due to the anesthetic used ). Sometimes air is pumped into the stomach for better visualization which may leave you feeling full.
Gastroscopy is extremely safe but like any medical procedure it may have complications. Possible rare complications include: