Gastroscopy FAQ’s


What do I have to do prepare for a gastroscopy?

Please follow the instructions on the gastroscopy preparation sheet carefully. You can view the gastroscopy preparation here.

Can I continue with my regular medication schedule?

Your endoscopist will inform you as to when you resume your regular medication schedule.

Can I drink alcohol the day before the test? Can I smoke?

We would recommend that you try to avoid drinking or smoking if possible.


What happens during a gastroscopy?

Gastroscopy is a procedure used to examine the esophagus (swallowing tube), stomach and duodenum (first part of small intestines). The gastroscope is passed through the mouth. A mouth guard is used to protect your teeth. Dentures should be removed. While gastroscopy can be uncomfortable, it is not usually painful. Some people experience a desire to cough or gag when the scope is passed into the esophagus.

During the procedure small samples (biopsies) may be taken. These will be sent to the laboratory for examination by the pathologist. The testing may include looking for a bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori which is associated with an increased risk of ulcers.

The test can be done without sedation but most people prefer to have sedation during the procedure. A topical anaesthetic agent will be used to numb the throat and reduce gagging. You will be drowsy but conscious during the gastroscopy. The drowsiness can last for up to a couple hours after. After the procedure, you will be recovered in a comfortable recovery room with appropriate monitoring of your vital signs.

Will I experience pain during a gastroscopy?

You may experience a gagging sensation when the endoscope is inserted which is reduced by the spraying of a topical anesthetic agent into your throat. You may also have a mild sore throat following the procedure.

How long does it take for a gastroscopy to be performed?

A gastroscopy usually takes 5-10 minutes to complete. After the procedure, it usually takes about 30-45 minutes if you received sedation to recover adequately enough to leave the facility with adult accompaniment.

What are the benefits of having a gastroscopy performed?

A gastroscopy allows the physician to detect problems in the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. These include ulcers, hiatus hernia, reflux and cancers. The additional benefit is that in almost all cases, if any abnormality is found it can be either removed or biopsy performed at the time of the procedure eliminating the need for an additional test.

What are the risks of having a gastroscopy performed?

Pain: This can occur during and after the procedure. You may experience a gagging sensation or minimal pain or injury to the oesophagus during the procedure. To minimize this, the throat is sprayed with a topical anesthetic agent. Following the procedure, you may have a sore throat.

Perforation: This is extremely rare (approximately 1 in 2000-5000) .If this occurs, an operation will be necessary involving a stay in hospital for several days.

Hemorrhage (bleeding): Bleeding occasionally occurs (1 in 5000) if polyps are removed or if biopsies are taken. If the bleeding cannot be controlled, a blood transfusion may be necessary, and occasionally, surgery may be needed.

Cardiac arrest and death: This is extremely rare (less that 1 in 100,000). The staff at the clinic is trained to manage this very rare problem.

Aspiration: Inhalation of liquid into the lungs. The risk is minimal if the patient has an empty stomach as required by the preparation for this procedure.

Drug reaction: Occasionally patients may have adverse reactions to the drugs administered during the procedure. To reduce this risk, you must let the doctor and nurse know of any allergies you may have to medications.

Who performs the procedure?

Only surgeons or gastroenterologists who have received formal training in this procedure are allowed to perform endoscopy at GTA Endoscopy Services Inc. Our physicians all hold staff privileges at hospitals where they perform the same procedures on a regular basis. We monitor regularly quality indicators such as rate of completion of the procedure, rates of detection for polyps and perforation rates for all Endoscopists.

The sedation for the procedure is administered by anesthesiologists who have had formal training and hold staff privileges at hospitals where they perform the same services.

Is it safe to have a gastroscopy performed in an out of hospital facility?

Colonoscopy and gastroscopy are both very safe, routine procedures. With appropriately selected patients, the risk is no different from having the procedure performed in a hospital setting. Patients who have serious medical issues are assessed and have their procedures performed in the hospital. During the procedure and in the recovery process, your blood pressure and oxygen levels are continuously monitored and highly trained professionals are supervising the procedure at all times.


What kind of sedation do you provide?

We provide what is known as neuroleptic sedation which involves using a benzodiazepine (similar to valium) and a strong painkiller (narcotic analgesic).

What does the sedation do?

The sedation will allow you to be relaxed during the procedure. Occasionally, some people fall asleep but this is not a general anesthetic. Most people do not remember what went on during the procedure because of the type of sedation used.

What are the alternatives to the sedation?

You may do the test without sedation if you choose. A spray to numb your throat will be used. However, remember that a gastroscope is approximately 3 feet long and you will have significant gagging during the procedure.

What are the side effects of the sedation? How long does it last?

You may feel drowsy after the procedure but this usually wears off about 15-30 minutes. You may also have minor redness at the site of the IV insertion. A few patients have nausea which occasionally requires gravol.

Who administers the sedation?

The sedation for the procedure is administered by anesthesiologists who have had formal training and hold staff privileges at hospitals where they perform the same services.


How long does it take me to recover following a gastroscopy?

The recovery time is about 20-45 minutes depending on how quickly your body gets rid of the sedatives. You will be monitored until you are fully alert and are able to tolerate something to drink. Most people feel perfectly fine by the time they leave, however, however you may remain a bit drowsy for the next 4-6 hours. By the next morning, you will be feeling well enough to resume all of your normal activities at home or at work.

When can I eat and drink following my procedure?

You will usually get a small snack and a drink when you have recovered from the sedation. When you go home, you can resume your regular diet unless otherwise informed by your endoscopist.

When can I resume my regular medication schedule?

Most my medications can be resumed the following day. However, if you are on blood thinners, you may be asked to delay restarting them if you had a biopsy or removal of a lesion.

When can I drink alcohol following my procedure?

You can drink alcohol the next day.

When can I return to work?

You can go back to work the next day and perform your normal activities.

When can I resume driving?

If you required sedation, you can resume driving the next day.

What should I do if I am not feeling well after my procedure and I have gone home?

If you have the following symptoms: fever or chills, severe abdominal pain lasting more than 30-60 minutes (mild cramps are common for the first 6-12 hours after), nausea or vomiting, bleeding or black stools, any unusual pain/problem or pain or redness a the site where the intraveneous needle was placed, you should go to any hospital emergency room but preferably to Rouge Valley Centenary Hospital as most of our endoscopists and anesthesiologists are on active staff there.

When do I find out my results? Are my results communicated to my family doctor?

After the procedure, you will be given a sheet that describes the findings and the endoscopist will discuss these with you. If a biopsy or polyps were taken during the procedure, you will usually receive the pathology reports in three weeks. You will be advised to make an appointment to come back for the results. The results are also sent to your family doctor

If my test does not reveal any abnormalities, when should I return for another procedure?

You will be told by the endoscopist when it is appropriate for a follow-up procedure. High risk individuals such as those with family histories or in whom polyps were removed may be asked to return earlier than routine screening patients.


What is your cancellation policy?

Please review our cancellation policy here.


How is the equipment cleaned?

The equipment is cleaned by certified sterile processing technicians. The equipment is cleaned in a two stage process involving manual cleaning followed by an automated process that performs high level disinfection of the endoscopes. Endoscopes cannot be sterilized because of the material they are made from. However, the high level disinfection ensures that the equipment will not cause you to get an infection.

What happens if I am sick on the day of my procedure?

If you have a fever or flu-like symptoms, you should call the clinic or your family doctor to determine whether or not it is safe for you to have your procedure performed. Rarely, some patients have vomiting and are unable to take the preparation. If this is the case, please call the clinic during working hours to inform us and we will advise you on the appropriate steps to take.

What happens if I have my period around the time of my procedure?

This does not prevent us from being able to perform a proper examination and should not be a reason to cancel your procedure.

Why do I need to have adult accompaniment for my transportation following my procedure?

During the procedure, you receive sedatives which render you legally intoxicated for up to 8 hours. You are therefore not permitted to drive during that time and you must have an adult accompany you home. This is also why you should not go to work until the next day.

When should I arrive for my procedure?

You should arrive 30 minutes prior to your procedure time.

How much does parking cost?

Parking is free for the first hour and costs $1.50 for each additional half hour. We recommend that you have your ride check you in at the clinic and come back later on to pick you up. We will obtain a contact number for your ride and call them when you have recovered or if there is any need to contact them before.

Does my ride have to wait with me during the procedure?

Your ride does not need to wait with you during the procedure, however, your ride must leave a contact number where they can be reached.

How long should I expect to be at the clinic for a gastroscopy?

You should expect to be at the clinic for about two hours from the time of your arrival. Occasionally there may be delays because of other patients being treated but we make every attempt to minimize this.

What happens if I have a latex allergy?

You will be asked to identify any allergies that you may have. If you do have a latex allergy, we can safely perform your procedure as we are a latex-free facility.

Can I request a female endoscopist and nursing team?

Yes, you can request a female endoscopist and nursing team. However, we cannot guarantee that you will have a female anesthesiologist for the procedure.

What happens if I can’t find an adult to accompany me home after my procedure?

For your safety, we cannot perform your procedure. We will be happy to arrange the earliest possible time to have it done when you can arrange for an adult to accompany me. Please note that if the adult accompaniment cannot drive, you can take a taxi home with your adult accompaniment.

What if I don’t have OHIP coverage?

You will be advised of the cost of the procedure which is based on OMA rates and you may have additional costs for processing of pathology specimens.