Endoscopy / Colonoscopy
An endoscopy, or gastroscopy, is putting a small flexible tube with a light and camera down the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum to obtain a view internally. Biopsies are often taken during a gastroscopy to exclude stomach infections such as Helicobacter Pylori, or to check for dietary intolerances to lactose or gluten. Biopsies can also be taken of any suspicious areas of the lining of the stomach or oesophagus.
Common reasons for a gastroscopy may include:
- Investigation of reflux, heartburn and hiatus hernias.
- Unexplained upper abdominal pain or discomfort
- vomiting or bleeding from the digestive tract
Patients prepare for gastroscopy by fasting for 6 hours before surgery. Gastroscopy is usually performed at a day surgery under a light anaesthetic. At the beginning of the procedure the anaesthetist may spray the back of your throat with a local anaesthetic to make it numb. A small mouthguard will always be used to protect a patients teeth and prevent biting the endoscope. Dentures will need to be removed before the procedure. The gastroscopy will take approximately 15 minutes.
Patients will wake in recovery. Once alert patients will be given a sip test to ensure swallowing is comfortable. All patients are then given food and drinks before discharge into the care of a family member or friend. The surgeon will discuss findings with the patient and a family member before discharge. Patients are generally able to be discharged an hour or two after waking.
If there are any concerns please contact the day surgery, surgeons rooms, local practitioner or local Accident and Emergency. Patients should be able to return to normal duties the following day. Occasionally patients will have a sore throat and bloating following the procedure that will resolve quickly.
A colonoscopy is looking into the bowel with a scope while the patient is asleep. It is seen as a preventive measure or a diagnostic tool. Those who are recommended to have a colonoscopy are those who have:
- Rectal bleeding
- Iron deficiency anaemia
- Abdominal pain and alteration in bowel habit
- The presence of colorectal cancer risk factors
- Clarification of barium enema findings
- Positive Faecal occult blood test
- Indication for repeat colonoscopy
- Previously had bowel polyps or cancer
- Surveillance of inflammatory bowel disease
- A family history of bowel cancer or polyps in first degree relatives
All patients undergoing colonoscopy are instructed to have bowel prep before the procedure. Bowel prep is used to clean out the bowel to enable the surgeon to have a clear view of the colon. If a patient has not had adequate bowel prep it can be very difficult or impossible for the surgeon to see anything during the colonoscopy. The surgeons rooms will give you written instructions for the bowel prep or they can be downloaded here.
Colonoscopy is usually performed in a day surgery. The surgeon will speak to the patient and a family member before you leave the hospital to discuss the findings and if any follow up is required. Patients can generally return to normal activities the following day after the procedure.