A gastroscopy is a procedure that involves a long thin flexible tube with a camera on the end known as an endoscope. The endoscope is inserted into your mouth to allow examination of your oesophagus, stomach and the first part of your small bowel known as the duodenum. 


A gastroscopy is the best way to visualise the inside of your oesophagus, stomach and upper small bowel. It also allows biopsies (tissue samples) to be taken to look for microscopic abnormalities that may not be obvious on general inspection. A gastroscopy may be useful in the investigation of heartburn/reflux, difficulty swallowing, unexplained nausea or vomiting, unintentional weight loss, upper abdominal pain and iron deficiency. It is also useful for the diagnosis and monitoring of conditions such as Barrett’s oesophagus and coeliac disease. 


Other investigations that can help evaluate abnormalities of the upper gastrointestinal tract include a CT scan, ultrasound, barium swallow and manometry. Your doctor can discuss the role of these investigations in your case during your consultation.   


Procedural complications arising from a gastroscopy are uncommon but include bleeding (from biopsy, polyp removal or other intervention) and perforation. Risks associated with sedation include adverse reactions to medication, aspiration of gastric contents into the lungs, or damage to your teeth. We recommend that you advise the anaesthetist if you have had dental work.


Our specialists do not charge a gap for endoscopy services provided to privately insured patients. We recommend that you confirm any out-of-pocket expenses with your private health insurance provider prior to your procedure. If you do not have private health insurance, we can provide an out-of-pocket cost estimate.


Our specialists perform endoscopy at Warringal Private Hospital, Victorian Day Procedure Centre, and Epworth Eastern. The day of the week and time at which your procedure is performed will depend on your treating specialist.


Please notify your doctor if you are taking any medications to thin the blood or for diabetes, as some adjustments may be required. 


A specialist anaesthetist, whom you will meet on the day of your procedure, will ensure that you are comfortable both during and immediately following your procedure. They will be available to answer any questions that you may have about the type of anaesthesia that you will receive for your procedure. You will generally receive deep sedation rather than a general anaesthetic for your procedure. This is administered via an intravenous (IV) line. Most patients are completely unaware of the procedure.  You can generally expect to wake up within 10-15 minutes of your procedure.


Please bring a copy of your medical referral, Medicare card, and details of your private health insurance on the day of your procedure. On the day, we suggest that you wear loose fitting clothes and leave any valuables at home. Upon check-in, you will be asked to change into a procedural gown and you should expect to wait for a period before you are called to have your procedure. The gastroscopy itself typically takes 10-15 minutes but may take longer in complex cases. Immediately following your gastroscopy your recovery will be observed. In total, you can expect to be at the procedure centre for up to four hours.


You will need a family member or friend to pick you up after the procedure (not a taxi/Uber/etc.), as you cannot drive for 24 hours. You will be provided with a medical certificate if necessary. You are also required to have someone stay with you overnight after the procedure just in case you have a delayed reaction to any of the medications administered. If this is not possible please discuss this with your doctor prior to the procedure. 


Before leaving, you will be given a copy of the procedure report for your own records. We encourage you to take this to your next appointment with your referring doctor. It is also common to schedule a follow-up appointment to review the results of your procedure, particularly biopsy results, and discuss your ongoing management. In some cases, you may require a follow-up procedure and we will place a reminder in our medical system to recall you for a repeat procedure as planned.