• SA Group of Specialists
  • 30 June 2022

What to expect when having an endoscopy

You may be feeling a little uncertain if your doctor has suggested you need an endoscopy.

What is an endoscopy?

An endoscopy is a procedure when a long, flexible camera is inserted in the mouth. It is used to visualise the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum. The doctor may also take small samples (biopsies) of abnormal tissue during the procedure, so it can be sent off for further examination.

Why do I need t have an endoscopy?

Your doctor should discuss with you why they are suggesting an endoscopy. It may be help to diagnose your condition or even treat issues.

How do I prepare for an endoscopy?

If you are having a colonoscopy and endoscopy at the same time, there isn’t anything specific you need to do to prepare for the endoscopy, as this will all be covered in your colonoscopy preparation. Find out what to expect when having a colonoscopy.

To prepare for an endoscopy you simply need to fast from food for 6 hours prior to the procedure, and stop water/fluids 3 hours prior to the procedure. You may also need to stop taking some medications, but it’s best to discuss this with your doctor.

What will happen on the day?

You will be in hospital for a total of 3-4 hours.

The hospital staff will admit you, before asking you to change into a hospital gown and completing the pre-procedure checks.

Once it’s time, you’ll be taken into theatre and put on the operating table. You’ll likely be placed under sedation, after which you won’t remember a thing. The procedure itself will take around 20 minutes to perform.

After the procedure you’ll be taken to the recovery room. Your doctor may come and speak to you before you are discharged.

After your endoscopy

You won’t be allowed to drive for the remainder of the day, because of the sedation. It’s also recommended you are with a responsible adult for the first 24 hours after the procedure.

You may notice that your throat is a little sore, or you have some extra gas. This is normal and should improve with time.

As with any procedure, there are more serious, but rare, side effects. If you have a fever, chest pain, bloody stool, difficulty swallowing or severe or persistent abdominal paint, it’s best to contact your doctor right away.

When will I get my results?

Your doctor will likely book an appointment to go through your results with you. They may also follow you up with a phone call instead.

What if I have more questions?

If you’re still uncertain, you should talk to your doctor before the procedure.

Most importantly, know that you doctor has likely done this many times and that you’re in good hands.


Contributed by Dr Adrian Chung