Gastroscopy is an examination of the lining of the oesophagus (gullet), stomach and duodenum by means of a gastroscope. A gastroscope is a long flexible tube with a tiny video camera on the end. It is passed into the mouth and down into the oesophagus and stomach enabling the lining of the oesophagus and stomach to be directly visualised on a video screen. 
Gastroscopy is the most accurate way of examining the inside of the oesophagus and stomach.

Why would I need a gastroscopy?

Gastroscopy may be recommended:

  • To look for causes of indigestion and swallowing difficulties
  • To determine the extent and severity of inflammation and/or reflux in the stomach and oesophagus
  • To look for a cause of blood loss in the stomach
  • To check for ulcers and polyps
  • To biopsy for diseases and conditions, such as coeliac disease, anemia, bleeding, inflammations, diarrhoea or cancers of the digestive system
  • To remove polyps

Preparing for your gastroscopy

It is very important for a successful gastroscopy that the doctor can see the lining of your stomach clearly. For this reason, you should have no food 6 hours prior to your procedure. You can drink clear fluids until 4 hours prior to your procedure then nothing more.

You will be given bowel preparation instructions before your procedure.

What to expect for your gastroscopy

We perform gastroscopy in Christchurch, Queenstown, Wanaka and Pegasus. We perform your gastroscopy in a calm, private environment in a procedure room. The examination is an outpatient procedure which usually lasts about 15 minutes.

Prior to the commencement of the examinations, your throat may be sprayed with a local anaesthetic to maintain your comfort. It is our objective to keep you comfortable during the gastroscopy. Depending on your preferences, a light sedative may be given to you prior to the examination to make you relaxed and drowsy. 

What to expect afterwards

At the completion of the examination you will be taken to a recovery area for a period of rest and observation. If you have taken sedation, you may feel a bit groggy after your gastroscopy so you will need to rest until the effects of the sedative have passed; this usually takes an hour or so. You will be given something to eat and drink after your local anaesthetic has worn off.

It will be necessary for you to arrange someone to transport you home after the procedure and stay with you for the next 2-3 hours. It is illegal to drive yourself following sedation.

The results of the gastroscopy will be reviewed with you at the completion of the procedure and you will receive a written report.

Frequently asked questions

A gastroscopy is normally performed within the Endoscopy Suite at Intus. It does not need to be performed in a hospital environment unless a general anaesthetic is required. Find out more about our Endoscopy Suite at Intus.

Local anaesthetic is the throat spray used to numb the back of your mouth. Sedation is medication given intravenously to make you relaxed and drowsy during the procedure. Some patients will remain awake and some may fall into a light sleep. A general anaesthetic is a combination of medications given to render you completely unconscious. An anathetist is required to monitor your vital signs and breathing.

A gastroscopy requires no food six hours prior and no fluid four hours prior to the procedure.

If the procedure has been performed under sedation, recovery usually takes up to two hours after which time you will be able to eat or drink as you wish. If, however, you have had either of the procedures under general anaesthetic, recovery will take longer.

You should be able to resume normal activities the day after your procedure. However, you will not be able to drive for 24 hours following a general anaesthetic or sedation.

A written report is provided by your clinician after the procedure (with a copy to your GP) and further advice or diagnostic consultation are arranged as necessary.

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If you’re having a procedure with us, please see our Patient Resources for more detailed patient information on your procedure.