Gastroscopy

Using this guide What's covered

Here you’ll find the answers to many of your questions about gastroscopy. Learn how it works, what it may cost, what your recovery may be like, and more.

To see how it’s done, view our animation below. For personal insights, see our patient experience videos in which HCF members talk frankly about their preparation, surgery and recovery.

Cost indicator

Discover the typical out-of-pocket costs HCF members can expect to pay for gastroscopy and learn how your choice of doctor and hospital affect that cost.

 

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Learn about gastroscopy

This short animation explains why gastroscopy is done and how it can investigate (and sometimes treat) problems in the oesophagus, stomach and small intestine.

The basics

What’s gastroscopy?

Gastroscopy is a diagnostic test that allows your doctor to look inside your oesophagus (the pipe that leads from your mouth to your stomach), your stomach, and your duodenum (top part of your small intestine).

While you’re sedated, your doctor passes a thin tube with a camera on the end called a gastroscope into your stomach through your mouth. Images from the camera are magnified and viewed on a monitor.

Your doctor can pass special small biopsy forceps through the gastroscope to take tissue samples for diagnosis. It's considered a very safe and precise way of investigating your oesophagus, stomach and duodenum.

Why is it done?

To check for abnormalities in your oesophagus, stomach and duodenum.

Common reasons include:

  • Abdominal or chest pain
  • Reflux
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Persistent nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Abnormal findings from imaging or blood tests.

These symptoms can be due to a wide range of disorders, including:

  • Oesophageal stricture (narrowing or tightening of oesophagus)
  • Hiatal hernia (where a part of your stomach gets pushed up into the chest cavity)
  • Stomach polyps
  • An ulcer
  • Bleeding in your stomach or duodenum
  • Coeliac disease
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Inflammation of the stomach (gastritis)
  • Cancer in your stomach or oesophagus.

Your doctor may also use gastroscopy as a screening tool if you have a strong family history of stomach cancer, or to follow up previous treatment. Gastroscopy is usually performed as an elective procedure but sometimes it’s done as an emergency procedure to investigate acute bleeding or an obstruction.

Doctors sometimes do a gastroscopy on the same day as a colonoscopy if they think your colon should be also examined.

The details

CONSIDERING THE PROCEDURE

Procedures associated with gastroscopy

Before doing a gastroscopy, your doctor may perform another procedure first.
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Results vs risks of the procedure

The benefits and potential complications of gastroscopy.
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Choosing a specialist

How to find a gastroenterologist or surgeon to perform your procedure.
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PREPARATION

Questions for your specialist

What you should be asking before going ahead with gastroscopy.
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Preparing for your procedure

Clearing the gut before your gastroscopy.
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YOUR PROCEDURE

Going to hospital

What to expect on the day of your procedure.
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Your procedure

What happens in the procedure room.
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RECOVERY AND AFTERCARE

After your procedure

Before you go home.
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Aftercare

Resuming activities and watching out for problems.
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Patient experiences

People who’ve had gastroscopy talk about their preparation, procedure and recovery.
 
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Give us feedback

Did you find this guide helpful? Let us know what you liked or what we can do to improve it. We'd love to hear from you.

To provide feedback, email us at wellbeing@hcf.com.au.

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Important information

Information is provided by HCF in good faith for the convenience of members. It is not an endorsement or recommendation of any form of treatment nor is it a substitute for medical advice, and you should rely on the advice of your treating doctors in relation to all matters concerning your health. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however HCF takes no responsibility for any injury, loss, damage or other consequences of the use of this information.