The gastroscopy procedure entails a physician threading an endoscope down the patient's throat and into his upper gastrointestinal tract, according to MedlinePlus. The endoscope has a tiny camera and light on the end and is attached to a monitor. The physician who performs the procedure is called a gastroenterologist.
The patient lies down on his back or his side during a gastroscopy, and his vital signs are monitored, says Mayo Clinic. He may be given an intravenous sedative, and an anesthetic is sprayed into his throat to relax it. At the same time, the patient is awake and alert enough to swallow the endoscope. The patient may also be fitted with a mouth guard. The procedure is not painful, and doesn't interfere with breathing. It takes about 20 minutes.
In addition to the insertion of the endoscope, air is pumped into the patient's esophagus to enlarge his GI tract, explains Mayo Clinic. This gives the doctor a better view and allows for more freedom of movement for the endoscope. The doctor may also perform a tissue biopsy or cauterize a bleeding ulcer, according to MedlinePlus. After the endoscope is removed, the patient is allowed to recover for a while in the doctor's office or hospital, and is then sent home.