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What is an upper GI endoscopy (Gastroscopy)?

 A gastroscopy is an examination of the upper section of the gastrointestinal tract. Using a flexible camera, The London Clinic’s expert endoscopists can closely inspect the oesophagus, stomach and the top of the small bowel for inflammation, cancer, ulcers and any other abnormalities. The London Clinic provides gastroscopy in a private, comfortable and stress-free environment. 

A gastroscopy may be done to investigate troublesome symptoms so that an accurate diagnosis can be made. It is useful if you are suffering from indigestion, heartburn, swallowing difficulties or if you have unexplained blood loss from the bowel. 

The London Clinic Endoscopy Unit is a purpose-built facility, offering gastroscopy by world-leading consultant gastroenterologists. With the latest equipment and support throughout by an expert multidisciplinary team, our patients have given the unit a satisfaction rate of between 98 and 100%.

Graphic showing the gastroscopy procedure

Understanding your investigation

The London Clinic has a dedicated, state-of-the-art Endoscopy Unit. With over forty years of gastrointestinal endoscopy service experience. We have a team of experienced consultant gastroenterologists and endoscopists and they can advise you about preparing for the procedure and answer any questions or concerns.

Why would I need a gastroscopy?

Gastroscopy is performed to diagnose conditions affecting the upper part of the digestive system. This includes the oesophagus, stomach and the beginning of the small bowel. It may be recommended to investigate symptoms including:

  • Indigestion and heartburn
  • Acid reflux
  • Persistent sore throat
  • Chronic cough, especially at night
  • Chest pain which is unrelated to heart problems
  • Vomiting especially if there is blood
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Bleeding, in particular black or tarry blood in the stools

What is the preparation for gastroscopy?

For your gastroscopy, you will need to have an empty stomach, to reduce the risk of vomiting and allow your endoscopist to get clear views of the stomach. This means you will not be able to eat on the day of the procedure, however laxatives are not usually required. 

Our expert multi-disciplinary team will provide you with detailed guidance on what you can eat and drink prior to the procedure. They will also advise on stopping any blood-thinning tablets and when to take any medication you have been prescribed to manage chronic conditions, such hypertension or diabetes. 

Gastroscopy facts

Your consultant will perform the gastroscopy as an outpatient procedure. No anaesthetic is necessary; however, sedation can be used to reduce discomfort and anxiety.

At The London Clinic, you can choose whether you would prefer to be sedated or not. Most patients opt for sedation as it makes the procedure easier and less stressful.

Your consultant may spray a local anaesthetic in your mouth to numb your throat. 

Your doctor will insert the thin, flexible tube into your mouth. They may ask you to swallow, to help the endoscope pass down your throat. At this stage, you may feel a little pushing but it shouldn’t hurt.

The tube will be passed down the oesophagus into the stomach and through to the duodenum, which is the upper part of the small intestine. There is a small camera on the end of the device, which relays high-quality images to a computer screen.

The London Clinic’s experienced endoscopists can inspect the whole of the upper part of the digestive system for ulcers, inflammation, bleeding and growths. They can take biopsies for analysis and also treat certain conditions.

Using specially designed instruments through the endoscope they can cauterise bleeding blood vessels, open up the oesophagus if it has become narrow, and remove polyps. The procedure is usually completed in under half an hour.

Gastroscopy recovery

Most patients having gastroscopy without sedation at The London Clinic are up and about straight after the procedure and can return to normal activities.

However, if you have sedation, you will need to recover in our comfortable unit for an hour or so, until you no longer feel drowsy. 

You will need an escort to take you home and, if possible, stay with you until the next morning. You should avoid alcohol and shouldn’t drive, work or use machinery for 24 hours, as you won’t be as mentally sharp as usual.

Your consultant will be able to discuss their visual findings on endoscopy as soon as you feel alert and able. They may then arrange an appointment to discuss the results of any biopsies and tests. Pathology laboratory results are usually available in 3 to 4 working days. They will explain your diagnosis, discuss your treatment options and address any worries that you have.

Why choose The London Clinic?

The London Clinic is dedicated to providing the best, personalised healthcare with over 600 world- renowned consultants available to offer informed health advice and treatment.

Spanning Harley Street and Devonshire Place, The London Clinic is situated in the heart of London’s internationally-known medical district. This central location, together with state-of-the art technologies and facilities that are not widely available in other hospitals, makes The London Clinic the hospital of choice for around 120,000 patients every year.

The London Clinic is an HTA licensed and JACIE accredited cancer centre with an ‘Excellent’ MacMillan Quality Environment Mark and with access to a Level 3 intensive care unit.

Offering affordable and competitive self-pay packages and expert support from Clinical Nurse Specialists and our specialised multidisciplinary team, over 98% of our patients said they would recommend The London Clinic to their friends and families.

Treatment cost

The London Clinic offers affordable, competitive self-pay packages for certain treatments. An All-Inclusive Package for this treatment is available from £1,290.

Patients have the option to spread the cost of treatment with Chrysalis Finance.

Please call +44 (0)20 3613 7502 to speak to our helpful team to find out more and to book an appointment.

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