GASTROSCOPY (or ENDOSCOPY) is a medical procedure used to look for disease in the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum (first part of the small intestine) or help discover the reason for swallowing difficulties, nausea, vomiting, reflux, bleeding, indigestion, abdominal pain or chest pain.
Your stomach and duodenum must be empty for the procedure to be thorough and safe, so you will not be able to eat or drink anything for at least 6 hours beforehand. Just before the procedure an anaesthetist will administer a strong sedative which will put you to sleep during the procedure. Your gastroenterologist will insert an endoscope-a thin, flexible, lighted tube-into your throat.
The endoscope transmits an image of the inside of the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum, so that your physician can carefully examine the lining of these organs
To look for abnormalities such as inflammation or bleeding that don't show up well on x rays.
Insert instruments into the scope to treat bleeding abnormalities or remove samples of tissue (biopsy) for further tests.
Bleeding and puncture of the stomach lining are possible-but rare-complications of endoscopy. Most people experience only a mild sore throat after the procedure.
An endoscopy usually takes 20 to 30 minutes. Because you will be sedated, you will need to rest at the endoscopy facility for one to two hours until the medication wears off, and most importantly, have someone else drive you home.
Note: Your physician may give you other special instructions.