Endoscopic Gastroscopy & Colonoscopy

What is an endoscopy?

An endoscope is a flexible, thin tube-like instrument fitted with a camera and light at the end. An endoscopy is not a surgery but rather a procedure. By placing this endoscope into the digestive tract, your doctor can view the internal structures, make a more accurate diagnosis and treat various issues minimally invasively. There are two types of endoscopies: a gastroscopy and a colonoscopy. When inserted into the mouth and down the oesophagus (food pipe), stomach and the first part of the small intestine (duodenum), it is known as a gastroscopy. When inserted into the anus, up the large intestine (colon) and rectum, it is known as a colonoscopy.

When is an endoscopy needed?

An endoscopy is used to diagnose and treat various conditions of the gastrointestinal tract. A gastroscopy, also known as an upper endoscopy, is done to diagnose stomach ulcers or gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) or to investigate the cause of swallowing problems or chronic stomach pain. A colonoscopy, on the other hand, may be advised to diagnose anything affecting the large intestine, investigate abdominal pain, rectal bleeding and chronic constipation. Endoscopies may also be used to screen for growths, lesions and tumours.

How is the procedure done?

Depending on the symptoms present, your doctor may suggest a gastroscopy or colonoscopy. Either way, Dr Ross will instruct you to empty your stomach before the procedure. For a colonoscopy, you may need to take a laxative to empty your bowels. Both procedures are done as a day procedure without the need for to stay overnight. In all cases, a sedative is be given to calm you. An anaesthetist is always present to monitor you during your endoscopy.

  • Gastroscopy
    During a gastroscopy, your doctor will ask that you lie on your side and insert the endoscope into your mouth. Dr Ross will then ask you to swallow the endoscope so that it can pass down your oesophagus, stomach and into the small intestine. As the endoscope moves down the gastrointestinal tract, your surgeon will get a clear view of the health of these tissues to make a proper diagnosis. If strictures or bleeding ulcers are found, they can be treated, and polyps or small tumours can be biopsied at that time.
  • Colonoscopy
    For this type of endoscopy, you will be asked to lie on your side in the foetal position. Your surgeon will then insert the colonoscope into your anus. Your doctor will then watch the video on a screen while guiding the endoscope through the rectum and large intestine. With a clear view of the internal lining of the intestines, Dr Ross can make a more accurate diagnosis. Should he notice any abnormal growths such as polyps, they can be removed and biopsied for further testing.

What can I expect after the procedure?

Being an outpatient procedure, you will be able to go home immediately after the procedure. If sedation was used, you might need to wait for the effects to wear off before you can go home. Mild stomach cramps and gas are normal after an endoscopy. You should contact your doctor should you have abdominal pain or fever following your endoscopy.


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Better is possible. It does not take genius. It takes diligence.
It takes moral clarity. It takes ingenuity. And above all, it takes
a willingness to try.

Atul Gawande, Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance


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