What is an upper GI endoscopy and dilatation?
An upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy is a procedure to look at the inside of the oesophagus (gullet), stomach and duodenum using a flexible telescope (see figure 1). This procedure is sometimes known as a gastroscopy.
Why do patients require this procedure?
Patients may require an upper GI endoscopy because they are suffering from one of the following:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Gastric reflux
- Stomach pain
What can an upper GI endoscopy help diagnose?
The following conditions may be diagnosed through this procedure:
- Precancerous conditions
- Bowel obstructions
Are there any alternatives to an upper GI endoscopy and dilatation?
An upper GI endoscopy without dilatation or a barium meal are other investigations.
What does the procedure involve?
If appropriate, the endoscopist may offer you a sedative to help you relax.
An upper GI endoscopy usually takes about a quarter of an hour. The procedure involves placing a flexible telescope (endoscope) into the back of your throat. From here the endoscope will pass on into your duodenum.
The endoscopist will be able to look for problems in these organs. They will be able to perform biopsies and take photographs to help make the diagnosis. The endoscopist can perform a dilatation using a guidewire and dilators or a balloon dilator.
What complications can happen?
- Allergic reaction
- Breathing difficulties or heart irregularities
- Making a hole in the oesophagus, stomach or duodenum at the narrowing
- Damage to teeth or bridgework
- Incomplete procedure
How soon will I recover?
If you were given sedation, you will normally recover in about an hour.
A member of the team will tell you what was found during the endoscopy and will discuss with you any treatment or follow-up you need.
You should be able to go back to work one to two days after the endoscopy.
An upper GI endoscopy and dilatation is usually a safe and effective way of finding out if you have a problem with the upper part of your digestive system and treating your symptoms.
Paying for your procedure
Upper GI endoscopy and dilation costs are covered by most medical insurance policies, but please check with your insurer first. If you are paying for your own treatment the cost of the procedure will be explained and confirmed in writing when you book the procedure. Ask the hospital for a quote beforehand, and ensure that this includes the surgeon’s fee, the anaesthetist’s fee and the hospital charge for your procedure.
Author: Mr Simon Parsons DM FRCS (Gen. Surg.)
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