During a gastroscopy, the esophagus, stomach and upper part of the duodenum are examined. Usually, the examination takes less than ten minutes. It is common for patients to be given medication to help them sleep (sedation) and therefore hardly notice anything of the examination ("gentle gastroscopy"). Many patients take advantage of this option (of course, it is also possible to do without it).
During the examination, the doctor takes photographs of all the areas viewed. These photos are then usually part of the findings. As a matter of routine, two double biopsies (tissue samples) are taken in the stomach (in the antrum and corpus ventriculi). If necessary, additional abnormal areas are biopsied. The patient does not feel the removal of the biopsy, but it often provides revealing information for the diagnosis. In many cases, the cause of an inflammation of the stomach (gastritis) can only be clarified by means of the biopsy. The result of the biopsy is available a few days after the examination.
Risks of gastroscopy: Before each gastroscopy, a detailed explanation of the procedure and its risks must be given in a timely manner.
Preparation for gastroscopy
For the examination, the patient must be fasting, i.e. no solid food for at least six hours and no liquids for at least three hours. Immediately before the examination, the throat can be numbed with a xylocaine pump spray. In addition, the patient will be given access for the application of sedation (usually propofol is used for this purpose).
» About preparation
After the gastroscopy
If sedation with propofol is used, the patient must sleep for approximately one hour after the examination. Also, drinking or eating is not allowed/possible until the throat anesthesia has worn off and the sedation has completely worn off (at least one hour). After receiving sedation, do not drive a vehicle for 24 hours. It is therefore recommended to be picked up or to use public transport.