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Gastroscopy – The need and procedure

By 1 September 2022No Comments

Gastroscopy is a key procedure to detect diseases and cancers in the gut. In many cases, early detection and treatment will save your life.

50 years ago, stomach cancer was the no. 3 cancer in Singapore. Today, it has become quite uncommon. What has made the difference? Two crucial developments:

  • The discovery of a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori) causes gastritis, ulcers, and stomach cancers.
  • The development of the microchip camera and gastrointestinal endoscopy.

At present, using Gastroscopy, we can directly visualize and access the interior of the stomach conveniently, comfortably, safely, and painlessly with non-invasive endoscopes. With this device, we can access the stomach, detect H. pylori, visualize ulcers and early pre-cancer changes and treat them before cancer occurs. This has massively reduced the volume of stomach cancers seen around the world.

When should you get a gastroscopy?

  • Gastric pain which is persistent or recurrent. Especially, when medication doesn’t bring relief or only provides temporary relief.
  • Vomiting more than once
  • Heartburn
  • Loss of weight and loss of appetite
  • Family history of gastric cancer, especially in first degree relatives
  • Follow up for polyps, intestinal metaplasia, Barrett’s esophagus, or reflux disease.
  • Follow up post gastric surgery, including bariatric procedures.
  • Removal of foreign body
  • Bloating
  • Difficulty in swallowing. i.e., dysphagia
  • Bleeding from the stomach presenting as black stools or vomiting of blood

How do you prepare for the procedure?

  • Before midnight, take a light dinner
  • Take your usual medication with a small sip of water.
  • Should the procedure be in the morning, do not consume  food or liquids after midnight
  • Should the procedure be in the afternoon, then no food or liquids 6 hours before the procedure.

What is the procedure like?

The medical team or endoscopist will set up an intravenous access. After which, a strong sedative will be given for you to sleep through the procedure You will return to normal when the sedative wears off. The whole procedure takes 15 to 30 minutes and recovery from the sedation takes 30 minutes to an hour.

During the procedure, the endoscopist would slip a fibreoptic scope down the throat into the esophagus and stomach, and duodenum and make a thorough visual check for any abnormalities. He will also take biopsies to look for pre-cancerous changes, remove polyps and samples to test for Helicobacter pylori.

The endoscopist will also check the esophagus for inflammation and pre-cancerous changes, such as Barrett’s Esophagus. Photos will be taken of relevant abnormalities and a video may be made for review. All abnormal areas will be sampled and the specimens sent to the laboratory for investigation.

At Advance Surgical Group, we ensure this procedure is hassle free and immediate to provide a peace of mind to any worrisome symptoms involving the gut.

When will I get the results?

When you are awake, the results will be made known to you. Some results will need to await a report from the laboratory and will take one to two days. After which, the doctor in charge will walk you through the results and recommend a bespoke treatment plan if needed. If necessary, the treatment can commence either immediately or when the lab results are received.

Can we intervene through the scope?

Endoscopy as a procedure can provide certain therapeutic treatments besides being just a diagnosis tool. Here are some of the other functions:

  • Stop bleeding from ulcers and varices.
  • Stent narrow areas.
  • Dilate strictures.
  • Remove polyps.

Remove early cancer. The option to treat abnormalities found in the gut will be made known to the patient prior to the procedure. This is to reduce and avoid multiple occurrences of the procedure.

How much does it cost?

The procedure is covered by Medisave and almost all basic health insurance programs. Please drop us a call at Advance Surgical Group to advise further.

What other procedures can be done through the scope?

At Advance Surgical Group, certain weight loss procedures can be considered with the use of a scope. Please go to our weight loss page for more information.

How do I book an appointment with ASG?

All appointments concerning endoscopy. If you are experiencing symptoms of pain and gut abnormalities, please make an appointment with us.

Call +65 68362168 during office hours or +65 9089 6844 after office hours.

E-mail: The procedure can be scheduled within a few days.

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