An Endoscope is an instrument that is used to view inside the organs of your body. It is a tube-like device with a camera on its end which is inserted into the body. It is entered through the mouth or anus. Sometimes, small incisions are given through which the tube is inserted. It is a minimally invasive technique known as keyhole surgery. It is specific for viewing every organ. For example, enteroscopy, colonoscopy, anoscopy, etc. Gastro means stomach and gastroscopy mean viewing inside the stomach. A gastroscope is used to see inside the stomach of a patient. It is used for the diagnosis of different stomach related diseases, gastric ulcers, persistent nausea and vomiting, dysphagia, tumors, carcinomas, etc. It has great diagnostic value in the medical field as many gastric diseases are diagnosed and treated using it.
Before gastroscopy, you are unaware of what is wrong with your stomach. Where is the problem and what are the factors causing that problem? You might be unsure if it is in the stomach or somewhere else. After gastroscopy, you are well aware of the type of problem, its intensity, and its exact location. Now you can get it treated in a better and effective way. This is how gastroscopy is helpful in diagnosing the problem. It does not only diagnose but also treat some problems such as ulcers which are burnt or clipped. Also, a sample of the tumor or carcinoma can be taken using it.
Before undergoing the procedure, you are asked to stop using any kind of medications at least 2 weeks beforehand because these can be the cause of hindrance in the process. You are prohibited to eat 6 to 8 hours before gastroscopy. Liquid consumption should also be stopped 2 to 3 hours before the procedure. It is important for the stomach to be emptied because food and water in it can interfere with the process. Also, it can hide the gastric walls which need to be examined for any kind of ulcer or tissue death. The patient is sedated to avoid pain and discomfort during gastroscopy. Sometimes, only local anesthesia is given. After this, it is initiated by examining the instrument. Its end which is to be inserted into the body is lubricated and checked for video and picture quality. Then the patient is asked to lay on his left side with his head resting on a pillow. If he is wearing glasses, contact lenses or any sort of jewelry, it is removed. For gastroscopy, the tube is inserted through the mouth. A mouth guard is used to prevent your lips and teeth from damage. The instrument is passed above your tongue into the oropharynx, from there into the pharynx and ultimately into the esophagus. This is the most uncomfortable stage of gastroscopy. It is performed gently and quickly. After this, the tube passes through cardiac sphincter to enter the stomach. Inside the stomach, j-maneuver is used to view its walls. The tube is flexed into j shaped for better examination. Doctor finds out the problem and takes pictures to show it to the patient after he returns to consciousness. In case it is inserted for treating ulcers, a probe is used to seal it using heat or it is clipped. The tube is removed from the mouth after the procedure ends.
Length of Stay in Destination
It is not a lengthy procedure requiring days and weeks in the hospital. Even an overnight stay is not needed. The process is completed in 15 to 20 minutes. This duration can be longer depending upon the purpose for which gastroscopy is being performed. After it ends, you are discharged from the hospital on the very same day.
You should plan to stay in the area for at least 1 to 2 days after your Procedure, this will allow for the initial recovery and follow-up check-ups and etc.
Duration of recovery is also different. It depends upon the type and method of procedure. It can increase if there is an infection or any other complication due to this. The patient is observed for an hour after gastroscopy until the effects of sedatives wear out. However, he is still under the influence of anesthetics for the rest of the day. There might be bloating and cramping after it. Also, you might feel numbness in your throat due to anesthesia. Sore throat and irritation are also common.
Gastroscopy has some risks and side effects. Following points should be kept in mind for the aftercare of it:
- You might be under the influence of anesthetics in the first few hours. Make sure that some family member, friend or relative is with you to look after you.
- Follow the guidelines given by your physician for a quick and better recovery.
- For sore throat, use boiled sweet liquids. They will have a soothing effect on your throat.
- Take your medicines as and when prescribed by the doctor.
- Do not drive for at least 24 hours after gastroscopy. Wait till the effects of sedatives subside.
- Stay away from alcohol for 24 hours.
- Do not take any sort of sedatives or tranquilizers immediately after the procedure as you are already under the influence of them.
- Do not climb up the stairs if you are drowsy.
Gastroscopy is used to view the walls of the stomach for diagnostic and treatment purposes. It is almost always successful and the problem is found and in some cases, treated.
Alternatives to Gastroscopy Procedure
Following are the alternatives to gastroscopy:
- Barium swallow: it is also known as barium meal. In this process, X-ray is asked to swallow liquid containing barium which forms a coat inside your esophagus and stomach. This layer then shows up on X-ray. Abnormality is found through x-ray film and treatment is proposed. It has a drawback that you cannot take a sample using this technique.
- CT gastroscopy: computed tomographic or virtual gastroscopy is a non-invasive technique for the diagnosis of gastric ulcers, tumors, carcinoma, etc. Multiple X rays are employed to produce a three dimensional (3-D) image of your stomach. This image is then used to look up for abnormalities.
For an in-depth analysis of a Gastroscopy Procedure, watch this short video.
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