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What is a gastroscopy?
An upper endoscopy is a procedure that lets your gastroenterologist examine the lining of the upper part of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This allows them to diagnose and treat problems in this part of your digestive system.
The upper GI tract consists of the oesophagus (the gullet or food pipe), the stomach and the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine).
To carry out this procedure, your specialist will use a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope, which has a tiny camera, with its own lens and light source. They will view the images on a video monitor.
An upper GI endoscopy is also known as: an upper endoscopy, oesophago-gastro-duodenoscopy (ODG), esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), gastroscopy or panendoscopy.
At OneWelbeck, our world-class gastroenterology consultants can carry out an upper GI endoscopy as a day case surgery. They will use the latest medical technology to ensure this is a minimally invasive procedure. You should be able to return home the same day, without overnight hospital admission.
All OneWelbeck private endoscopy procedures are carried out in first-class, comfortable surroundings, with high quality nursing care to suit your personal needs.
Why is a gastroscopy performed?
An upper GI endoscopy is the best test for finding the cause of bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract. It’s also more accurate than X-rays or scans for detecting inflammation, ulcers and tumours of the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum.
An upper GI endoscopy procedure can help your gastroenterologist to find the cause of unexplained symptoms, such as:
- Long-term heartburn
- Persistent nausea and vomiting (being sick)
- Persistent tummy pain (abdominal pain)
- Problems swallowing (dysphagia)
- Chest pain that is not caused by heart-related problems
- Narrowing of the oesophagus
- Unexplained weight loss
What can a gastroscopy diagnose?
An upper endoscopy can be used to identify different diseases and conditions:
- Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD/GERD)
- Stomach cancer
- Barrett’s oesophagus
Your gastroenterology consultant might use an upper endoscopy to obtain a biopsy (small tissue samples), which will help them to tell the difference between benign (non-cancerous) and malignant (cancerous) tissues.
During a GI endoscopy, your consultant can pass narrow instruments through the endoscope to directly manage many problems in the GI tract. These treatments may involve stretching a narrowed area, removing polyps (usually non-cancerous growths) or treating bleeding.
Preparing for a gastroscopy
At OneWelbeck, you will receive a consultation with your gastroenterologist before the upper endoscopy procedure. They will explain what this involves, how to prepare for it, and answer any questions you may have. Tell them about any medications you take, as well as medical conditions you have, such as heart or lung disease.
Having an empty stomach will produce the best results for an upper endoscopy, so you should have nothing to eat for 6 hours, and nothing to drink 2 hours before the examination.
You may also need to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen, or other blood-thinning medications for several days in advance.
Your consultant will give you specific instructions about how to prepare for the procedure, and when to start fasting. It is important that you follow these instructions.
What does a gastroscopy involve?
At OneWelbeck, your endoscopy will be carried out by a leading gastroenterologist, supported by a multidisciplinary staff. Your consultant may start by spraying your throat with a local anaesthetic or by giving you a sedative to help you relax.
You will then lie on your side, and an endoscope will be gently passed through your mouth and into the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum.
The endoscope pumps air into your stomach and duodenum, which will make them easier to see. The endoscope should not interfere with your breathing.
Most patients do not find the procedure to be too uncomfortable, and many will fall asleep during the test. The upper GI endoscopy procedure usually takes between 15 and 30 minutes.
Our highly trained nurses at OneWelbeck will monitor your vital signs and keep you as comfortable as possible. You will not need to stay in the hospital overnight.
Recovering from a gastroscopy
After an upper GI endoscopy at OneWelbeck, you will be able to rest in a private, comfortable recovery area for around 1 to 2 hours, until most of the sedative has worn off.
Some results from an upper GI endoscopy will be available the same day, and your consultant will discuss these with you before you leave. The results of a biopsy may take a few days longer.
After the procedure, you may have a mild sore throat, feel bloated or experience cramps for a short time. These symptoms will improve with time.
The sedative will affect your reflexes for the rest of the day. So, it is important that you arrange to have someone to drive you home after the procedure. Do not drive or operate machinery until the next day.
An upper endoscopy is considered to be a safe procedure. Although complications after an upper endoscopy can occur, they are very rare when this procedure is performed by experienced gastroenterology specialists.
Your consultant at OneWelbeck will give you information about possible signs of complications to look out for. The My Recovery app will also provide you with some key guidelines about recovering from an upper endoscopy.
You can reduce your risk of complications by carefully following your consultant’s instructions about preparing for an endoscopy.
OneWelbeck patients will be offered the use of the MyRecovery smartphone app. This doctor-designed app acts as a mobile patient companion to guide you through the steps to prepare for the colonoscopy and prevent and delays to your care.
The app will use two methods to provide you with a seamless colonoscopy experience by offering you the right information at the right time through:
- Video messages from your consultant and clinical team
- Pre-procedure checklists that are visible to you and your clinical team
Timed alerts will appear on the MyRecovery phone app to remind you about the next step in your bowel prep. The app will also explain the procedure, give tips and provide pictures of bowel preparation quality.
To ask a question about our procedures at OneWelbeck or to book an appointment, contact our team today.
We are available from Monday to Friday: 8am – 8pm.