The following information is about the gastroscopy procedure. To book an appointment, please contact our Brisbane office.
Pre-operative Preparation for Gastroscopy
Patients are required to fast (both food and liquid) for six hours prior to the procedure. No specific preparation is otherwise required. It is usually performed under conscious sedation which for all intents and purposes is a light anaesthetic sometimes referred to as a twilight sedation.
The only preparation required is that you have nothing to eat for 6hrs prior to admission to Brisbane Private Hospital. You are not to consume fluids 2hrs prior to your admission.
What about my usual medications?
In general, these should all be taken as usual. Exceptions will include:
- Warfarin and other blood thinning drugs
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Insulin or other diabetic tablets
- Iron Supplements
- Any herbal drugs (you will need to check with the manufacturers as to what these contain)
The need to stop these medications will need to be discussed with Dr Renaut beforehand. It is also necessary to inform the anaesthetist of all medications, past medical history and allergies.
Alternatives to Gastroscopy
As far as alternatives are concerned indirect visualization of the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum can be achieved with a procedure known as a barium swallow and meal. Whilst this is less of an inconvenience to the patient in the that sedation is not required, it is less accurate with regard to identifying pathology and has the distinct disadvantage of not allowing biopsies to be taken. If pathology is identified with this investigation then a gastroscopy is required as a secondary procedure.
About Gastroscopy (Upper GI Endoscopy)
Gastroscopy, otherwise known as an endoscopy or oesophagogastroduodenoscopy is a flexible fiber-optic scope examination of the oesophagus, stomach and initial part of the duodenum. This is a non surgical procedure that allows visualization of the internal aspect of these organs for the purposes of identifying certain conditions and potential pathology. It allows biopsies to be taken and where indicated procedures such as dilatation and stopping of bleeding.
Endoscopy involves inserting a flexible telescope (gastroscope) through your mouth to view your oesophagus, stomach and duodenum.
What happens during the procedure?
As the gastroscope is passed into your stomach, gas is blown in to help see the inner lining. Biopsies can be collected to look for inflammation, tumours or Helicobacter pylori (the bacteria associated with stomach ulcers.) Additionally, any sites of bleeding can be treated. The procedure usually takes 20-30mins and is carried out at the Brisbane Private Hospital Endoscopy suites.
Will I be awake during the procedure?
An anaesthetist will usually be present and you will have the opportunity to discuss this further with them. Although it is not normally a general anaesthetic, you will be heavily sedated and often will not recall the procedure.
How will I know what is found at the Endoscopy?
Your Brisbane surgeon Dr Renaut will speak with you and/or your family members immediately after the procedure. Often you are still groggy when you talk to Dr Renaut, so you are more than welcome to phone his rooms the following day. Additionally, the results of any biopsies are usually available then. A formal report is sent to your general practitioner and copies can also be sent to any other doctors you nominate who are involved in your care.
Complications associated with a gastroscopy are rare. Occasionally bleeding can occur particularly if biopsies are taken this almost always settles without the need for further intervention. Excessive bleeding which is most unusual often presents to the patient as black tarry stools. This once again usually settles of its own accord but if it persists may require an admission to hospital for a blood transfusion and a further gastroscopy. Perforation of either the oesophagus, stomach or duodenum has been known to occur but once again this is most unusual. The risk of perforating the oesophagus rises if a dilatation is being performed but the indications for this are specific and your specialist will discuss this with you prior to your procedure.
As far as the anaesthetic is concerned, in most instances this equates to conscious sedation i.e a light anaesthetic or twilight. For this reason most complications relating to the anaesthetic are rare and are very much related to the existence of other conditions such as heart disease, chest disease, diabetes and obesity. Your anaesthetist will discuss these issues with you on the day, prior to your procedure.
Post-operative Care following a Gastroscopy
After the procedure
Once you have been given the all clear by the recovery staff or your specialist to be discharged it is imperative that you go home and rest for the remainder of the day. It is unsafe to drive a car of operate machinery for 24 hours after the procedure. The following day you should be completely back to normal and ready to resume your usual day to day activities.
A gastroscopy is a commonly performed procedure which is remarkably free of risk. Specific indications together with an explanation of these risks and complications should be discussed with your specialist or G.P prior to the procedure.
Effects of Sedation / Safety issues
Even though you may feel OK after the procedure, small amounts of sedative will remain in your bloodstream. For this reason, you must not drive a car or operate machinery for 12 hours after the procedure. Failure to follow this advice carries the same implications as drink driving and is against the law. You should also not sign any contracts or make important decisions for 24hrs. You should not consume alcohol as the sedative effects will be increased. You should be cautious with simple tasks around the house - e.g. using knives, etc.
You must be taken home and cared for overnight by a responsible person.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact our Brisbane office on 07 3831 9322.
We are able to offer a range of other procedures such as colonoscopy, haemorrhoidal treatments and more, book a consultation with us to discuss how we can assist you.