What is Gastroscopy?

Gastroscopy is a test to look at the lining of the upper gut (the swallowing tube or oesophagus, stomach, first part of the small intestine). We use a flexible telescope with a camera, which sends pictures to a screen.

Gastroscopy is a very common test for children and adults with gut problems. It helps us find out if there is a problem with the gut and sometimes we use it to check if the gut is getting better with treatment.

How is Gastroscopy performed?

While you are asleep, your doctor will pass a flexible telescope through the mouth, down the oesophagus and into the stomach. It is usually then passed into the first part of the small intestine (duodenum)

Why do I need this procedure?

Where you have symptoms suggesting possible problems in the upper or lower digestive tract, persistent vomiting, dysphagia (pain or difficulty in swallowing), heartburn, chronic acid reflux, unexplained weight loss or abdominal symptoms, or blood in the stool, your doctor may recommend an endoscopy to:

  • find out if your digestive tract is healthy or diseased
  • screen for ulcers, gastritis, inflammation of intestine, polyps or cancer in the upper digestive tract, and where necessary, take small tissue specimen (biopsy) for further investigation
  • carry out treatment (where possible) through the endoscope at the same examination

What does it involve?

Before the procedure, you must not have anything to eat for about six hours before the test. You are allowed to drink water till 4 hours before the test (or as instructed by your doctor).

You will be put into sleep under general anaesthesia or sedation by an experienced anaesthetist during the procedure. When you are asleep, a flexible telescope will be passed down through the mouth. Tissue samples (biopsy) may be taken for examination during the procedure.


Gastroscopy is a very safe procedure. Complications are rare.

However despite the best of intention, sometimes, problems do occur and they include:

  • Tear in the lining of the intestinal wall (surgery may be needed)
  • Bleeding from the procedure (rare complication)
  • Allergic reaction to the medication

What can I expect after the gastroscopy?

When you wake up from the anaesthetic you sometimes have a slight sore throat or a sore tummy. You can have some food and a drink as soon as you would like some. You will have to wait for three to four hours in the ward. After you have seen the doctor, you can usually go home.


Got more questions? Schedule an appointment today with Dr. Christina Ong.

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