Gastroscopy is defined by the National Institutes of Health as a diagnostic endoscopic procedure that visualises the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract up to the duodenum.
It is an investigation of the oesophagus and stomach from the mouth through to the start of the small intestine. This uses a tiny camera mounted at the end of a thin, flexible tube. It makes detection of conditions associated with stomach cancer much easier, such as inflammation and ulcers, as well as bacteria that increase the risk of stomach cancer. This procedure is considered as a minimally invasive procedure since it does not require an incision into one of the major body cavities and does not require any significant recovery after the procedure, unless sedation or anesthesia has been used.
This procedure of gastroscopy is recommended for people who experiences symptoms such as pain in the upper abdomen, recurring heartburn, recurring vomiting, and any other discomfort thought to be coming from the upper gut. It is usually experienced by people who are above 40 years of age with a family history of cancer or stomach ailments.
This also shows diagnostic indications such as unexplained anemia, upper gastrointestinal bleeding as evidenced by hematemesis or melena, persistent dyspepsia in patients over the age of 45 years, heartburn and chronic acid reflux which can lead to a precancerous lesion called Barrett’s oesophagus, dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing, odynophagia or painful swallowing, persistent nausea and IBD or Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.
Undergoing the procedure of gastroscopy is important especially for people, who experience the abovementioned symptoms, because cancer has no symptoms or minimal discomfort. Early detection of ulcers and cancer increases the chances of a full recovery. Prevention is always better than cure.
For people who have in mind the plan of undergoing this procedure, there are certain things to expect before, on the day and after the scope. Before the scope, they will be expected to stop any prescription of aspirin or other blood thinning medications with a doctor’s advice. They will also be required to fast from food and drinks a few hours before the procedure.
On the day of the scope, local anesthesia will be applied to numb the back of the throat. The patient will be sedated during the painless procedure, which takes less than 10 minutes. After the scope, it will take about an hour for the patient to be fully awake and then he will be allowed to eat after the scope.