Gastroscopy is an internal exploratory examination of the inside of the esophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestine. The doctor uses a gastroscope, which is inserted through the throat. This examination is carried out in order to detect or exclude any defects. Gastroscopy is a type of endoscopy.
Gastroscopy can provide a clearer image of the cause of problems in the stomach area. For example can be seen whether the gastric mucosa is irritated and whether there is an inflammation, ulcer, tumor or other damage. Furthermore, the doctor can identify some small intestinal disorders, because also the first part of the small intestine (the duodenum) can be viewed.
The gastroscope is a flexible tube of about one centimeter in diameter. At the end of the tube, there is a small light and a camera. The light ensures that the doctor has good vision. The camera is connected to a monitor, on which the doctor can follow the examination.
The doctor slides the gastroscope via the throat and esophagus through the stomach into the duodenum. During the gastroscopy, the doctor may perform minor interventions. Thus, it’s possible to remove a piece of tissue for further investigation (biopsy) or to remove a polyp from the stomach or the duodenum (polypectomy). The doctor can also burn away other small defects from the wall of the esophagus, stomach or duodenum with electric current, stop a bleeding or tie off or inject esophageal varicose veins. The examination will take about 5 to 15 minutes and is somewhat unpleasant for the patient. When the doctor has to perform an intervention, the examination may take longer.