Gastroscopy vs Endoscopy | Gleneagles Hospitals

Gastroscopy vs Endoscopy

A gastroscopy or an endoscopy might be ordered if your doctor needs to look inside your body. Both are non-invasive procedures that enable your doctor to check your insides without opening you up.

We discuss the differences between these two procedures and when each one is used in this article.

What is a gastroscopy?

A gastroscopy involves using an endoscope to examine the upper part of the digestive tract.

The endoscope is inserted via the patient's mouth into the oesophagus and then into the stomach and the duodenum (small intestine) during the procedure. Your doctor will be able to view images of these areas on a monitor through the camera and light on the endoscope.

A gastroscopy is also referred to as an oesophageal gastric duodenoscopy (OGD) or an upper endoscopy.

What is a gastroscopy looking for?

A gastroscopy is typically performed when the patient has symptoms like issues swallowing, indigestion, or nausea. Your doctor may look for signs of inflammation, ulcers, polyps or even cancer.

Besides this, a gastroscopy can be used to treat certain conditions, including bleeding ulcers, widening of a narrow oesophagus (dilatation), and removal of a foreign body. Your doctor can also take tissue samples if they spot any abnormal tissues during the procedure.

What is an endoscopy?

An endoscopy enables doctors to examine organs and tissues inside your body without making a large incision. An endoscope (a long, thin tube with a camera) is inserted into an opening (such as your mouth) or via a small cut. Your doctor will be able to view images taken by the camera on a screen.

Besides looking inside your body, an endoscopy can also remove a small sample of tissue to be tested further. This is referred to as an endoscopic biopsy.

Types of endoscopy procedures

Different types of endoscopy procedures look at different parts of the body, and the type used is dependent on the patient’s symptoms.

  • Arthroscopy - to examine the joints
  • Bronchoscopy - to examine the lungs
  • Colonoscopy - to examine the colon
  • Cystoscopy - to examine the bladder
  • Enteroscopy - to examine the small intestine
  • Hysteroscopy - to examine the inside of the uterus
  • Laparoscopy - to examine the abdominal and pelvic area
  • Laryngoscopy - to examine the larynx
  • Mediastinoscopy - to examine the mediastinum, which is the area in between the lungs
  • Sigmoidoscopy - to examine the sigmoid colon and rectum, which is the lower part of the large intestine
  • Thoracoscopy / Pleuroscopy - to examine the chest wall and area between the lungs
  • Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy/Gastroscopy - to examine the oesophagus and upper intestinal tract
  • Ureteroscopy - to examine the ureter

What diseases can be detected by an endoscopy?

Your doctor may perform an endoscopy if you’re presenting with signs of the following conditions:

  • Bleeding in the digestive tract
  • Blood in urine
  • Chronic constipation
  • Esophagus blockage
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Gallstones
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Infections
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases including Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Stomach ulcer
  • Tumours
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding
  • Other issues related to the digestive tract

Is there a difference between an endoscopy and a gastroscopy?

Yes, there are several key differences between an endoscopy and a gastroscopy. These include:

  • A gastroscopy only views the oesophagus and upper GI tract, while endoscopy is performed to examine many body structures, including joints, intestines, lungs, and the pelvis area. In fact, a gastroscopy is a type of endoscopy.
  • During an endoscopy, the endoscope may be inserted through an incision. A gastroscopy utilises the mouth to insert the endoscope.
  • The patient may require general anaesthesia for an endoscopy, while a gastroscopy can be accomplished with sedation or local anaesthesia.
  • A patient might present with more complications after an endoscopy as compared to a gastroscopy. Rare but possible risks of endoscopy include chest pain, organ perforation, fever, persistent pain at the endoscopy area and swelling at the incision. However, both endoscopy and gastroscopy have much lower risks than open surgery.

Similarities between gastroscopy and endoscopy

Because a gastroscopy is a type of endoscopy, there are, of course, ways in while they are similar, including:

  • The same technologies are used. Additionally, both procedures can be enhanced with utilities such as ultrasound.
  • Patient risks contracting an infection for both procedures.
  • Both procedures are used for various reasons, including examination and treatment.

Is an upper endoscopy the same as a gastroscopy?

Yes, a gastroscopy is sometimes called an upper endoscopy or an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy.

Are you asleep during gastroscopy?

A local anaesthetic spray to numb your throat will usually be administered, rather than a sedative. This is because a gastroscopy is not usually painful, although it can be unpleasant.

Nonetheless, you can request a sedative. Young children are also likely to be given general anaesthesia for this procedure, meaning that they will be asleep when it’s carried out. Do ensure that you have someone to pick you up from the hospital if you’ve taken a sedative.

When is gastroscopy recommended?

Your doctor might recommend a gastroscopy if you are presenting with the following symptoms:

  • Chronic or recurring nausea, vomiting, or heartburn
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea that doesn’t seem to subside
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Weight loss with no apparent explanations
  • Suspected peptic ulcer
  • Suspected cancer in the stomach or oesophagus
  • Blood in your stool

A gastroscopy is also sometimes performed during a post stomach surgery check-up.

Gastroscopy & Endoscopy at Gleneagles Hospital

Both endoscopy and gastroscopy are procedures that enable doctors to view your insides without surgery. As such, they are highly favourable options if you are presenting with certain symptoms.

Gleneagles Hospital provides various endoscopy procedures, including gastroscopy and colonoscopy. The multidisciplinary team of doctors are prudent in detailing a customised treatment plan for patients to ensure the best possible outcomes. You can rest assured that you will be taken care of to the best of our ability.

If you have been having symptoms related to your digestive system, make an appointment with the team of gastroenterology specialists at Gleneagles Hospital for consultation.

References

  1. Cancer Research UK (15 March 2019) Gastroscopy, Available at https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-in-general/tests/gastroscopy [Accessed 25 March 2022]
  2. InformedHealth.org (30 June 2015) What happens during a gastroscopy? Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK310264/ [Accessed 25 March 2022]
  3. Healthline (12 Oct 2019) Endoscopy, Available at https://www.healthline.com/health/endoscopy [Accessed 25 March 2022]
  4. NHS (14 Oct 2021) How it’s performed Gastroscopy, Available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gastroscopy/what-happens/ [Accessed 25 March 2022]
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