The gastroscope is passed through the mouth into the upper gastrointestinal tract and allows direct visual inspection of the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum. Biopsies (tissue samples) may be taken during the procedure. An intravenous sedative is given prior to the procedure, so you will be sleepy and comfortable during the examination. Gastroscopy is performed as a day procedure at a hospital of day surgery centre.
It is very rare for any complications to occur due to gastroscopy. Serious problems such as damage to the gut or anaesthetic complications occur in approximately 1 in 10,000 cases. Your doctor will discuss the procedure in more detail prior to your gastroscopy.
The sedative you are given for the procedure may affect your memory of the procedure and the events of the next hour or so. Because the sedative may interfere with your judgement or ability to concentrate, you should not drive a motor car, ride a bicycle or travel unaccompanied, use dangerous machinery or sign important documents for the remainder of the day.
It is necessary to arrange for a friend or relative to take you home from the hospital. You must have an adult staying with you in the home overnight following your procedure.
Most people require just one day off work for a gastroscopy. A medical certificate can be provided by your doctor on the day of the procedure.