Gastroscopy is a commonly performed medical procedure that allows the examination of the lining of the oesophagus, the stomach and the first part of small bowel, known as the duodenum. This procedure will also allow the doctor to collect a 2-3mm sample (biopsy) from relevant areas for examination under the microscope.
How do we do it?
The procedure is carried out with a fibre-optic camera and therefore it is often known as “the camera down the throat”.
All our procedures are performed under anaesthetic administered by a specialist Anaesthetist and you often will not remember anything at all about the procedure. It is not uncomfortable.
While you might have heard of other people having this procedure done while they were awake, this is not the case with our practice.
Why is a Gastroscopy performed?
Gastroscopy is usually performed to either find out why you have symptoms or as a screening procedure for patients at risk of stomach or oesophageal cancers.
Gastroscopy is considered as more accurate than X-rays or CTs to detect inflammation, ulcers or any other changes in the lining of the oesophagus, stomach or duodenum. We can also take samples to examine for bacteria or parasites, inflammation and coeliac disease.
Gastroscopy is commonly performed for:
- Persistent reflux
- Swallowing difficulties
- Painful swallowing
- Tummy bloating and tummy pain
- Bleeding from the Gastrointestinal tract
- Family history of oesophageal or stomach cancers
- Patients with a history of Barrett oesophagus
- Patients with risk factors for oesophageal cancer, such as smoking
If you have any of the above symptoms or indications, please consult your GP to consider whether Gastroscopy should be performed with one of our doctors.
Treatment options during Gastroscopy
While Gastroscopy is often considered a diagnostic procedure (a procedure to find out why you have symptoms), we can provide treatment to relieve your symptoms during Gastroscopy. This commonly includes:
- Treatment for bleeding
- Dilatation (commonly known as stretch of the oesophagus) to a narrow area
- Removal of growth (polypectomy and/or endoscopic mucosal resection)
Our doctors are experienced in performing these treatments and will often discuss these in detail with you prior to the treatment being administered.
How long does it take?
While the procedure itself does not take more than 10 minutes to complete, we ask you allocate a half day from your schedule. This allows admission time to the hospital, for the procedure to be completed and recovery time afterwards under clinical observation to be sure there are no complications.
It is important note that as you will receive an anaesthetic:
- Someone else needs to pick you up after the procedure as you are not allowed to drive.
- You should not operate machinery the day of the procedure.
- You are advised not to have any alcohol the day of the procedure.
Complications from Gastroscopy are very rare. We will provide information in this regard when you book your procedure. Please discuss with us if you have any concerns.
Where is the procedure performed and how much does it cost?
The procedure is performed at Calvary Hospital and Hobart Specialist Day Hospital.
Other than the excess that your health fund charges; all privately insured patients and DVA patients have no out of pocket costs. Please note that a waiting period might apply if you have just recently joined a health fund. You need to check with your health fund whether your policy covers for this procedure.
Do I need to see the Doctor before booking in for the procedure?
Our practice offers Direct Access Gastroscopy. It is not necessary for you to see the Doctor in order to book in for the procedure. If your GP thinks that your health permits, then you might be able to book in directly. This is known as Direct Access Endoscopy.
You will still be seen by our Doctors on the morning of the procedure at the hospital. Our Doctors will take a history of your symptoms, your past medical history, medication and allergies during this discussion.
If you would like to discuss the procedure before proceeding to the hospital, we can organise a consultation. Please note there is usually a wait to see our Doctors in rooms.