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Gastroscopy is a procedure that examines the lining of oesophagus, stomach and part of duodenum (first part of small intestine), and is therefore able to diagnose diseases of the oesophagus and stomach. This procedure uses a highly advanced flexible tube called the gastroscope. The gastroscope has a light source and a tiny high-definition video camera attached at its end.
The doctor will insert this tube through your mouth and guide it down your oesophagus (also called the gullet) into your stomach and then into the duodenum. You will be given some drugs to make you sleep and hence you will be quite comfortable during the procedure. You may not even be aware of the procedure.
As the doctor inserts in the gastroscope, he will be watching a monitor. The images from the camera are transmitted and magnified onto a high-definition monitor. This allows the doctor to see exactly the inside of your oesophagus and stomach, including very small abnormalities due to the magnification.
Besides diagnosing diseases, the gastroscope can be used for treating certain problems. It can be used to stop bleeding from ulcers or tumours. It can be used to remove foreign body that has been accidentally swallowed e.g. fishbone. It can even be used to perform minor surgery such as cutting out small tumours like polyps or even early stomach cancer.
Some of the common symptoms or problems that will cause the doctor to recommend a gastroscopy includes:
Upper abdominal discomfort (also called dyspepsia)
Heartburn or reflux symptoms
Unexplained weight loss
Decrease in appetite
Difficulty in swallowing (also called dysphagia)
Anaemia (the patient’s haemoglobin level is low)
Vomiting of blood or passing out black stools (these symptoms suggest internal bleeding)
Screening for stomach cancer in high-risk individuals.
The gastroscopy is a very safe procedure. Nonetheless, although very rare, complications can occur. The overall complication rate is about 1 in 1000 patients.
The estimated cost for the gastroscopy is divided into 2 components: the doctor’s fees and the hospital fees. The hospital fees refer to charges levied by the hospital for the use of the instruments as well as the ward / bed.
The doctor’s fees for a diagnostic gastroscopy performed during office hours by Nexus Surgical Associates doctors will be approximately S$600 to S$1000 (excluding taxes). For Singaporeans and Permanent Residents, Medisave may be used to pay part of or all of the bill (conditions apply). As for patients wishing to claim from their health insurance policies, it is best to enquire with your insurance agents first.
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