What is an gastroscopy?
A long flexible tube, approximately the size of your little finger, is passed through the mouth and examines the lining of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (the first portion of the small intestine).
Abnormalities suspected by X-ray can be confirmed and others may be detected which are too small to be seen on x-ray. If the doctor sees a suspicious area, he can pass an instrument through the endoscope and take a small piece of tissue (a biopsy) for examination in the laboratory. Biopsies are taken for many reasons and do not necessarily imply cancer.
Other instruments can be passed through the endoscope without causing discomfort, ,including a small brush to wipe cells from a suspicious area or a wire loop to remove polyps (abnormal growths of tissue).
Why is a gastroscopy necessary?
The decision to perform this procedure is based upon assessment of your particular problem. If you have any questions about your need for a gastroscopy, do not hesitate to speak to your doctor.
A gastroscopy is used to check for the cause of symptoms such as heartburn, trouble swallowing, vomiting, bleeding, abdominal pain or abnormalities supsected by X-ray.
A gastroscopy may also be needed for treatment, for example, for stretching narrowed areas of the esophagus, for removal of polyps or swallowed objects, or to control upper gastrointestinal bleeding.
A gastroscopy may detect cancers that are too small to be seen by X-ray, can confirm the diagnosis by biopsies or brushings, and identify the site of upper gastrointestinal bleeding.