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Upper GI endoscopy (gastroscopy)

A gastroscopy is the insertion of a flexible camera system into your intestine to diagnose and treat a range of stomach problems

Operation-using-laparoscopic-treatment
A gastroscopy, also known as an upper GI (gastrointestinal tract) or OGD (Oesophago-Gastro-Duodenoscopy), is a procedure to look inside your oesophagus, stomach, and the first part of your small intestine.

During a gastroscopy, your consultant will insert a small, flexible tube with a camera and light attached to it, called an endoscope, into your intestine through your mouth. This endoscope is connected to a monitor that your consultant can refer to as they perform the procedure. A gastroscopy can help diagnose many conditions that affect your stomach, including stomach ulcers, a blockage in your oesophagus, or non-cancerous growths.

This page explains everything you need to know about having a gastroscopy.

A gastroscopy is a highly effective way of investigating a broad range of stomach problems. You might benefit from a gastroscopy if you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Persistent heartburn and indigestion 
  • Persistent bloating 
  • Persistent stomach pain 
  • Persistent nausea 
  • Difficulties swallowing (this is also known as dysphagia) 
  • Abnormal bleeding 
  • Low levels of iron in your blood (also known as iron deficiency anaemia) 
  • Unexplained weight loss 

These symptoms can be caused by many conditions, including: 

A stomach ulcer

A stomach ulcer is a sore that develops on the lining of your stomach. It occurs when acid inside your stomach damages the layer that protects it. The most common symptom of a stomach ulcer is a burning sensation in the middle of your tummy, but some people also experience indigestion, nausea, and sickness.

Non-cancerous growths (polyps)

A non-cancerous (benign) tumour is a growth that does not spread to other parts of your body. Polyps (also known as benign growths) can develop anywhere in your large intestine. Polyps do not usually cause any symptoms, so most people do not know they have them, but they can be found during routine testing and procedures to investigate problems (such as a gastroscopy).

Cancerous tumours

When cancer cells form a lump or growth, they are called cancerous or malignant tumours. A cancerous tumour can grow and spread to other parts of your body. The main treatment for malignant tumours is surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy (or a combination of both chemotherapy and radiotherapy).

Coeliac disease

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition that happens when your immune system attacks your own tissues when you eat gluten. This damages your small intestine and leaves you unable to absorb nutrients. Symptoms vary from person to person, but usually include severe stomach pain, diarrhoea, and bloating.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD)

Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is a common condition that occurs when acid from your stomach leaks into your oesophagus. Symptoms of GORD include severe bloating, sickness, heartburn, and pain when swalloing. You can often manage symptoms of the condition with lifestyle changes and medication.

Gastritis

This is a common condition with a wide range of causes. It occurs when the lining of your stomach becomes inflamed after it has been damaged. It causes a burning or gnawing pain in your stomach, bloating, and sickness. Treatment for gastritis helps reduce the amount of acid in your stomach, allowing its lining to heal and your symptoms to stop.

We’re here to help

Living with persistent stomach problems can make simple, everyday tasks painful and challenging. It can also interfere with your lifestyle, making socialising with friends and eating your favourite food a source of anxiety – not enjoyment. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

At Circle Health Group, we offer a range of treatment options for stomach issues. To find out more about our services, you can call a member of our team on 0141 300 5009 or book an appointment with a consultant online.

Gastroscopy endoscopy or camera into stomach

Please be aware that the following prices are a guide price. Your final price will be confirmed in writing following your consultation and any necessary diagnostic tests.

Patient pathway Initial consultation Diagnostic Investigations Main treatment Post discharge care Guide price
Hospital fees N/A Not included £1,775 Included £1,775
Consultants fees from £200 N/A Included Included £200
Guide price £1,975

Before having a gastroscopy, you will meet with one of our consultant gastroenterologists to discuss your symptoms and determine whether the procedure is the right next step for you.  

You can usually see a consultant for your initial consultation within 48 hours of booking your appointment with us. 

Your consultant will ask about your general health and take a detailed examination of your medical history. They will want to know about existing medical conditions you suffer from, as well as the current symptoms you are experiencing. They will want to know how these symptoms impact your everyday life, how often they occur, and whether you have tried treatment options for them already. 

To assess your symptoms and make an accurate diagnosis of your problem, your consultant will gently carry out a physical examination of your tummy. If they can't find anything wrong, they will share more information about further diagnostic testing, including a gastroscopy, and whether it might be the right next step for you.  

It is important to remember that your initial consultation is a positive step in your journey toward getting better. Your consultant is there to answer any questions you might have and ease any concerns you might experience about undergoing the procedure.  

After your initial consultation, your consultant and multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals will ensure you understand the next steps in your journey and how to prepare for the procedure. They will also arrange your gastroscopy for a time that suits you. 

You must not eat or drink anything for at least six hours before having a gastroscopy, but you can take small sips of water for up to two hours before your appointment. This is to make sure your consultant has a clear view throughout the procedure. 

You should discuss any medication you are taking with your consultant before the procedure. They might ask you to stop taking your medication in preparation for the procedure, but this information will be made clear to you at your initial consultation.

A gastroscopy usually takes around 15 minutes, but this can vary depending on your circumstances.

To begin, you will lie on your side. Your gastroenterologist will apply a local anaesthetic spray to numb your throat. You will also be offered a sedative for the procedure, which will help you relax during it. This will be administered intravenously (through a tube placed in your vein). You will also be offered a mouth guard to protect your teeth.

Your doctor will then gently insert a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera at the end of it down your throat and into your large bowel to examine the cause of your symptoms. This camera will be connected to a monitor in the room. You will be asked to swallow the endoscope to help it move down into your oesophagus.

During a diagnostic gastroscopy, air will be blown into your stomach after the endoscope has been inserted, allowing your consultant to see any unusual inflammation, lumps, or blockages. This may feel a bit uncomfortable, making you burp and feel bloated, but it will improve by the end of the procedure.

Endoscopy biopsy

If your gastroenterologist finds any small growths in your stomach, they will remove them there and then with small specialist forceps inserted through the endoscope. They might also remove a small sample of skin tissue to be biopsied, if needed. Your consultant will tell you that they are doing this to keep you informed at all times.

A gastroscopy to treat a condition

You might have a gastroscopy to treat a condition, such as bleeding varices (enlarged veins that can rupture), bleeding ulcers, or a narrowed oesophagus.

Treating enlarged veins

Your consultant will use the endoscope to locate the site of the bleeding. They can then stop the bleeding by either tying the base of the veins with a small rubber band or injecting them with a chemical that closes the hole or tear in the blood vessel.

Treating bleeding ulcers

If you have a gastroscopy to treat bleeding stomach ulcers, your consultant can use several techniques during the procedure to stop the bleeding. They might pass a probe through the endoscope to seal the ulcer with heat or small clips or inject medicine around the ulcer to make the blood clot.

Treating a narrowed oesophagus

If you have a narrowed oesophagus, your consultant can pass instruments through the endoscope to help widen it. The instruments can also be used to insert a balloon or stent (a hollow plastic or metal tube) to keep the sides of your oesophagus open.

You can leave hospital on the same day as the gastroscopy, but you will need to wait in a recovery room as you come round from the sedative. You should arrange for a friend or family member to collect you from hospital while your sedative wears off and you still feel tired. We can arrange for a taxi to collect you from hospital if you would prefer. 

You should avoid drinking, drinking, and operating heavy machinery for 24 hours after the procedure.  

After the gastroscopy, you may have a slightly sore throat. This can last for one or two days but can be effectively managed with over-the-counter painkillers. You should rest and drink plenty of fluids the day after the procedure.

If you have had biopsies taken or growths removed during the procedure, your consultant might recommend you make certain changes to your diet. They will ensure you have all the information you need to follow these instructions.  

Most people recover quickly after a gastroscopy and can return to normal everyday activities within one or two days of having the procedure.

In some instances, your gastroenterologist will recommend that you have a colonoscopy at the same time as your gastroscopy. A colonoscopy is a procedure to examine your large bowel in a similar way that a gastroscopy examines your oesophagus, stomach and small intestine. 

A combined colonoscopy and gastroscopy allows your specialist to see the whole of your digestive tract in one procedure. The operation uses both an gastroscope and a colonoscope. 

There are various reasons why your consultant might recommend a joint gastroscopy and colonoscopy. They will be able to tell you why they think it's the right choice for you.

Gastroscopy and colonoscopy

Please be aware that the following prices are a guide price. Your final price will be confirmed in writing following your consultation and any necessary diagnostic tests.

Patient pathway Initial consultation Diagnostic Investigations Main treatment Post discharge care Guide price
Hospital fees N/A Not included £2,675 Included £2,675
Consultants fees from £200 N/A Included Included £200
Guide price £2,875

What happens during a diagnostic oesophago-gastro-duodenoscopy?

During a diagnostic gastroscopy, your consultant will insert a small, flexible tube with a camera and light attached to it, called an endoscope, into your intestine through your mouth. This endoscope is connected to a monitor that your consultant can look at as they perform the procedure.

You will be asked to swallow the endoscope to help it move down into your oesophagus. Air will be blown into your stomach after the endoscope has been inserted, allowing your consultant to see clearly.

How long does the procedure take?

It takes around 15 minutes to perform a gastroscopy.

Is a gastroscopy painful?

The process can be uncomfortable, making you feel bloated and burp, but it should not be painful.

What is a gastroscopy performed with?

The procedure is performed with an endoscope. This is a small, flexible tube with a camera and light attached to it. This is inserted through your mouth and into your oseophagus. It is connected to a monitor that displays images of inside your tummy, allowing your consultant to see clearly and perform the procedure accurately. 

How long do you have to fast before a gastroscopy?

You must not eat or drink anything for at least six hours before having a gastroscopy, but you can take small sips of water for up to two hours before your appointment. 

Is a gastroscopy dangerous?

A gastroscopy is a safe and commonly performed procedure to diagnose and treat a range of tummy issues.

It is important to remember that complications can occur during any surgery, not just a gastroscopy. Potential complications that can happen when you have a gastroscopy include: 

  • Breathing difficulties 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Neck, chest or stomach pain 
  • Pain when swallowing 
  • A temperature 
  • Bloating 

Serious complications as a result of a gastroscopy are rare. If you have any concerns about these, speak with your consultant. They will be able to discuss their likelihood with you in more detail and put your worries at ease. 

When you choose to go private with Circle Health Group, you can expect:     

  • Personalised,consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs   
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams   
  • Support by the same compassionate clinical team from beginning to end   
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included   
  • Flexible payment options to spread the cost of your care 
  • Flexible appointment times and locations to fit your routine   
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs  

If you would like to learn more about this procedure, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly on 0141 300 5009.

Specialists offering Upper GI endoscopy (gastroscopy)

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Mr John Loy

Consultant Upper GI and Bariatric Surgeon

MB BCh FRCSEd (Gen Surg)

The London Independent Hospital

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Dr Tina Annette Mehta

Consultant Gastroenterologist and Endoscopist

MBChB, MRCP, MRCP Gastroenterology

Bath Clinic

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Mr David Andrew Evans

Consultant General Surgeon

MBBS, FRCS (Ed) MD, CST (EC), T(S), RCPathME.

The Beardwood Hospital

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Dr Joel Mawdsley

Consultant Gastroenterologist & General Physician

MA (Cantab) MBBS, FRCP, MD

Syon Clinic 1 more The Clementine Churchill Hospital

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