What is a Gastroscopy?

Gastroscopy is a study of the upper GI tract from the esophagus to the beginning of the small bowel. A small flexible tube about the size of one's finger is passed through the mouth, the back of the throat, into the esophagus, then into the stomach and first part of the small intestine or duodenum. The patient will be lying on his or her left side and undergo pharyngeal anesthesia with a spray or medication and oftentimes intravenous sedation. There is usually no pain associated with the examination but there is a feeling of discomfort in the throat. Abnormalities seen by x-ray or suspected by history and physical examination can be investigated with this instrument. Biopsies may be easily obtained, pictures taken, and fluid removed from the stomach for further diagnostic assessment. The only preparation for upper endoscopy is for the patient to have nothing in his stomach or fasting from the night before. This would require the patient to stop eating after midnight the night before the exam. Prior to the procedure the patient will receive intravenous sedation and a pharyngeal spray. The tube is then gently placed into the esophagus and away from the trachea or breathing tube. The procedure will take 15 minutes or less. The patient will remain in the endoscopy area for observation until the sedation given to the patient wears off.


Upper endoscopy or gastroscopy is safe with very low risk. One complication would be a tear of the esophagus or the stomach with leakage of digestive enzymes. This complication, although rare, can be treated without surgical therapy. Bleeding at the site of biopsy or polyp removal is also very rare.

Home Biography Procedures Outpatient Resources

Rush University Medical Center
Professional Building
1725 W Harrison St, Room 837
Chicago, IL 60612

Office Locations

Advocate Illinois Masonic
Professional Building
3000 N Halsted St, Suite 609
Chicago, IL 60657

Office Appointments

Tel: 773-248-4427
Fax: 312-944-2188

Mon, Tue, Thu: 7 AM - 5 PM

Procedure Appointments

Dr. Markey Direct
Tel: 773-248-4427
Pager: 312-839-9054

William Markey, MD

Gastroenterology & Internal Medicine