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Lakes DHB Gastroenterology

Public Service, Gastroenterology & Hepatology (Liver)


This is a procedure which allows the doctor to see inside your oesophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine (duodenum) and examine the lining directly. 

What to expect

The gastroscope is a plastic-coated tube about as thick as a ballpoint pen and is flexible.  It has a tiny camera attached.  During the test the tube is passed through your throat down into your stomach and the start of your small intestine. The back of your throat is sprayed with anaesthetic to make this comfortable.  You will be offered a sedative (medicine that will make you sleepy but is not a general anaesthetic) as well.  If the doctor sees any abnormalities, they can take a biopsy (a tiny piece of tissue) to send to the laboratory for testing. 

This is not a painful procedure and will be performed at the day stay unit in a theatre suite (operating room) by a specialist doctor with nurses assisting.

Complications from this procedure are very rare but can occur. They include:

  • bleeding after a biopsy, if performed
  • an allergic reaction to the sedative or throat spray
  • perforation (tearing) of the stomach with the instrument (this is a serious but extremely rare complication).

Before the procedure

You will usually be asked not to eat anything from midnight the night before and not to take any of your medications on the day of the procedure. More detailed instructions will be sent to you beforehand.

After the procedure

You will stay in the day stay unit until the sedation has worn off which usually takes 1-2 hours.  You will be given something to eat or drink before you go home.  If you have been sedated, you are not able to drive yourself until the following day so please make sure there is someone with you.

The team can give you a copy of the report the doctor has written on the day of the procedure. However, if biopsies are taken these will be sent for analysis and results are available within 2-3 weeks.  A report and copies of these are sent to your GP.

This page was last updated at 1:46PM on August 9, 2021.