What is a Gastroscopy?

A Gastroscopy (also known as an Endoscopy) is a procedure which allows your doctor to look at your upper digestive tract through the use of a high-tech fiber optic tube. In this exam, you’ll be given sedatives (but not general anesthesia) to help you sleep. While you are asleep, a tube is inserted into the mouth and swallowed, giving your doctor a clear view of your esophagus, stomach, and the beginning of your small intestine – the duodenum.

The purpose of this exam is to detect problems within your digestive tract, such as inflammation or ulcers in your stomach or bowels, and any other abnormalities that may occur.

Before the Procedure:

  • It’s best to eat light the night before your exam.
  • No food or drink should be consumed the day of the examination.

After the Procedure:

  • Make sure you get plenty of rest after your examination. Remember – you just been given sedatives, and you may feel tired. 24 hours of rest is recommended.
  • You may experience bloating, cramping and gas due to ingested air during the procedure. This is normal. As a result, burping may occur within the next couple of days.
  • Having a sore throat or hoarseness after the procedure may also occur. Gargling warm water and salt can help with the pain and make the area heal faster.
  • You may now resume eating normally.
  • Driving the day of the procedure should NOT be allowed. If you have friends or family with you, you should have them drive you after the exam. If they are unavailable or cannot drive, please call a taxi.
  • Doctor’s instructions regarding treatment or follow-up care should be followed. Contact your doctor if you have any questions.

Notify your doctor immediately or go to the nearest ER when you experience any of the following:

  • Shortness of breath.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Fever and/or vomiting.
  • Severe or persistent abdominal pain.
  • Severe or persistent chest pain.
  • Blood in your stool.


What is a Colonoscopy?

Similar to a gastroscopy, a colonoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to look at the inside of your large intestine through the use of a fiber optic tube. In this exam, you will either be put to sleep through a sedative (no general anesthesia) or the doctor will opt to use local anesthesia (a numbing agent). Then, a fiber optic cable will be inserted through the rectum and into the large intestine. This will give your doctor a clear view of the lining of the colon.

In general, a colonoscopy is used to evaluate gastrointestinal symptoms, such as rectal and intestinal bleeding, or when severe changes in bowel movements occur. Colonoscopies can also be performed to check for colorectal cancer – more specifically, to check for colorectal polyps.

A screening colonoscopy is recommended for anyone 50 years of age and older, or for anyone who has a history of colon cancer in their immediate family.

Before the Procedure:

  • In order to have a successful procedure, your bowels must be empty so that your doctor is able to see your colon unobstructed. If your bowels are not empty, you have to repeat the procedure at a later date.
  • Eat a light dinner the night before. No food or drink should be ingested the day of the exam.
  • Some medications can help you prepare to empty your bowels. Such medications should be taken only with the instruction from your doctor. Moreover, such medication may cause inflammation or irritation of the anus, and thus you may need to apply ointment to the affected area. Using wet wipes instead of toilet paper, and taking a warm bath for 15 minutes after the passing of stool, can also alleviate these symptoms.

After the Procedure:

  • You may experience bloating, cramping and gas due to ingested air during the procedure. This is normal.
  • If sedation has been given, a responsible family member or friend MUST drive you home.
  • If sedation has been given, make sure you are well rested once at home. 24 hours of rest is recommended.
  • You may resume eating normally.
  • If polyps were removed as a result of the colonoscopy, a patient may have light rectal bleeding for one or two days.

Notify your doctor immediately or go to the nearest ER when you experience any of the following:

  • Large amounts of rectal bleeding.
  • High or persistent fever.
  • Severe abdominal pain.


What is a Biopsy?

A biopsy is a procedure to remove a piece of tissue or a sample of cells from your body so that it can be analyzed in a laboratory. A biopsy is often performed when a patient is experiencing certain signs and symptoms, or if your doctor wants to identify an area of concern. You may undergo a biopsy to determine whether you have cancer or some other condition.

In terms of gastroenterology, a biopsy may occur during a gastroscopy or colonoscopy (see above). During the procedure, which involves inserting a fiber optic tube through your mouth or rectum to see the lining of your stomach, small intestine, or colon, a small tissue sample may be extracted to be analyzed. Depending on the procedure, you may receive a sedative or anesthetic before the procedure.

Analysis and results:

After your doctor has obtained a tissue sample, it will be sent to a laboratory for analysis. Once at the lab, tissue samples may be chemically treated or frozen and sliced into very thin sections. These cut tissue sections are then placed under a microscope to determine whether or not the cells are cancerous, where the cancer originated from (i.e. the type of cancer), and how aggressive the cancer is.