What is a gastroscopy?
- It is an upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy or oesophago-gastro duodenoscopy (OGD)
- It is an examination of the lining of your gullet (oesophagus), stomach, and the first part of your intestine (duodenum).
- It is performed by passing a gastroscope (a flexible tube with a small camera at the end) through your mouth and into your stomach.
- The complete test takes approximately 5-10 minutes, but if treatments are carried out procedures do take longer.
What is a colonoscopy?
- It is an examination of your large bowel (colon).
- It is performed using a colonoscope (a flexible tube, with a small camera at one end) which is passed carefully through your back passage (anus), and air is inflated into the bowel.
- The colonoscope is then advanced around the large bowel enabling the endoscopist to look directly at its lining.
Although there are alternatives your doctor has decided that these are the best tests for you.
A barium meal x-ray examination is an alternative investigation to a gastroscopy. It is not as informative as a gastroscopy and has the added disadvantage that tissue samples cannot be taken.
An alternative to a colonoscopy is a barium enema x-ray examination. It is not as informative as a colonoscopy and has the added disadvantage that tissue samples cannot be taken.
If you want further information, please discuss this with your GP or the doctor who has referred you for this test.
What are the risks of having a gastroscopy and colonoscopy?
These occur extremely infrequently, the doctor who has requested the test will have considered this. The risks must be compared to the benefit of having the procedure done.
- A sore throat after a gastroscopy is common and should resolve after a few hours.
- There is a small risk of damage to crowned teeth or dental bridgework during a gastroscopy.
- Inhalation of gastric contents can cause pneumonia which would require antibiotic treatment.
- Complications include perforation or tear of the intestine or bleeding. These complications occur in less than 1 in 1000 examinations but may require urgent treatment or an operation. If a perforation or tear occurs in the large bowel an operation is nearly always required to repair the hole. The risk of perforation is higher with polyp removal.
- Bleeding may occur at the biopsy site or polyp removal (1 in every 100-200). This may stop on its own but may require further treatment and an operation may be required.
- A reaction to the drugs used during the procedures may require you to stay in hospital.