Gastroscopy

About our Brisbane Gastroscopy (Upper GI Endoscopy) Service

Open access gastroscopy, otherwise known as an endoscopy or esophagogastroduodenoscopy is a flexible fibre-optic scope examination of the oesophagus, stomach and initial part of the duodenum. We carry out this procedure in our Brisbane clinic. This is a non-surgical procedure that allows visualisation 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. To book an appointment, please contact our Brisbane office.

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 or Northwest Private Endoscopy suites.

Will I be awake during the procedure?

An anaesthetist will 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 identified at the Gastroscopy?

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.

Pre-operative Preparation for Gastroscopy

Patients are required to drink water only for six hours prior to the procedure and then nothing at all for two 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.

What about my usual medications?

In general, these should all be taken as usual with a sip of water. Exceptions will include:

  • Warfarin or other blood thinning drugs
  • Insulin or other diabetic tablets.
  • Iron supplements.
  • Any herbal and naturopathic drugs

Many of these contain unidentifiable substances in unknown quantities that make them potentially unsafe. You will need to check with the manufacturers as to what these contain. These should be ceased in accordance with specific instructions issued by Dr Renaut’s Brisbane office.

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 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.

Complications

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 procedure

Your Brisbane specialist will speak with you immediately after the procedure. The results of any biopsies taken will be available a few days later and this information will be passed on to you by phone or in a follow up consultation as necessary. You will be sent home with a formal report that is a copy of the report that is sent to your referring doctor and/or G.P.

Effects of Sedation and Safety Issues

Once you have been given the all clear by the recovery staff to be discharged it is imperative you go home with a friend or family member and rest for the remainder of the day. 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 24 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 legal documents for 24 hrs. 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 adult. The following day you should be completely back to normal and ready to resume your day to day activities. A normal diet can be resumed almost straight away unless there are specific instructions to the contrary. If you do suffer one of the unusual complications such as excessive bleeding or pain or if you feel unwell, for more than a few hours then you should not hesitate to contact your specialist or G.P.