A gastroscopy is an investigation of the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum. A thin tube is passed through the mouth into the areas to be investigated and a video is transmitted to a screen which the doctor can see.

You will be given a choice about whether or not to have sedation for this procedure. Many people have a more positive memory of this procedure if they take the maximum amount of sedation on offer, although some have no sedation and have equally positive reports.

You may receive a local anaesthetic to numb the throat that can be gargled or sprayed. It is often banana flavour!  Sedation may be administered through a vein in the arm or hand. This help you stay relaxed and comfortable and drowsy but it is not the same as a general anaesthetic.

Air is pumped through the endoscope to inflate the stomach and duodenum, making them easier to see. Special tools are slide through the endoscope which allow the doctor to take some small samples of tissue for examination (biopsies).

If you have opted for sedation, you will be monitored for about an hour while it wears off. You may be aware of the air that has been pumped in, and have a sore throat from the tube for a couple of days.

Reviewed 10/05/12

Want to know more?

  • Oxford University Hospital NHS Trust leaflet on gastroscopy
  • Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust leaflet on gastroscopy

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