Blog / What Happens During A Gastroscopy
The preparation for a gastroscopy (also called an endoscopy) is very straightforward, the patient will be asked to fast for at least 8 hours before the procedure. This is to ensure the stomach is empty so the endoscopist can get a really good view. Some patients have a mild sedative before the procedure starts, however this means the patient will need to stay in hospital for a few hours and will not be allowed to drive home. If the patient is having a sedative, they will have a cannula (needle) placed in the vein on the back of one hand so the sedative can easily be administered.
The instrument used for this procedure is called an endoscope. It is a long, hollow flexible tube with a light and high-resolution camera on its end. It is about the same width as a medium marker pen. It can relay images of the inside of the body to a television screen so the endoscopist can check for issues, it can also take video and still pictures. Because the endoscope is hollow it is also possible to put instruments through it for collecting tissue (biopsy) or for treating some conditions.
At the start of the gastroscopy, the endoscope will be place in the mouth and gently pushed down the throat, with the patient being asked to help its progress by swallowing a few times. The sedative can really help here as this can be quite uncomfortable and it suppresses the gag reflux.
The endoscope will be passed down the oesophagus and into the stomach. The endoscopist will move the camera tip of the endoscope around looking at the stomach from all angles. They will also pass the endoscope through the bottom of the stomach and into the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine immediately beyond the stomach).
Once they’re happy with what they’ve seen they will gently withdraw the endoscope and the procedure is over. It usually takes no more than 10 minutes in total. The patient doesn’t suffer any ill effects afterwards, they may just have a sore throat for a couple of days.
If you’ve been referred for a gastroscopy and are on a waiting list, whether you’re insured or wish to pay privately, please get in touch. RefluxUK can arrange your gastroscopy quickly at one of our dedicated centres.