Gastroscopy is a term that may crop up during discussions about stomach or digestive system health. What is gastroscopy, what is it used for, what does it involve, and how much does it cost to undergo a gastroscopy in Singapore?
What Is A Gastroscopy
A gastroscopy is an endoscopic procedure for the upper gastrointestinal tract. This includes the oesophagus (a canal connecting the throat to the stomach), the stomach, and the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). It is thus also known as an Oesophago-Gastro-Duodenoscopy (OGD).
The process involves the insertion of a thin and flexible fibre-optic scope with a camera through the mouth, down the throat and into the digestive system. This allows the doctor to have a good view of the inside of the stomach. The scope also has a biopsy forcep with which the doctor, for instance, can extract tissue for further examination or carry out other procedures. Gastroscopy is carried out under sedation.
Gastroscopy is used to diagnosis a patient’s condition, or to administer treatment. When carried out for diagnostic purposes, a gastroscopy would typically take only about 10 minutes on average to complete.
When A Gastrocopy Might Be Required
Some examples of when a doctor might suggest a gastroscopy includes:
- Screening for stomach cancer.
- Examining the stomach for ulcers and polyps.
- Removing foreign objects.
- Placing stents.
- Treating bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract.
- Determining the cause of a patient’s condition when the patient presents symptoms like reflux, prolonged upper abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and heartburn symptoms.
Gastroscopy Risks And Complications
Gastroscopy in Singapore is a common and generally safe procedure and complications are rare. Major risks includes adverse reaction to sedation such as respiratory depression and cardio-respiratory arrest (0.1% risk).
After the procedure, patients should seek medical help if they experience any of these symptoms:
- Breathing difficulty.
- Passing of black-coloured stool.
- Severe bloatedness and pain in the abdominal.
- Severe pain in the chest.
- Severe vomiting.
- Severe nauseousness.
- Swelling and inflammation of the injection site (where the sedative was administered)
Patients undergoing gastroscopy will be required to fast for 6-8 hours before the procedure.
During The Procedure
Prior to the actual procedure, the doctor will anaesthetise the patient’s mouth and throat with a spray (the patient will be asked to swallow the spray). Dentures, if any, will be removed where possible.
A light sedative will be intravenously delivered to the patient to last for the duration of the procedure. To mitigate against the risk of respiratory complications, oxygen will be given to the patient via tubes inserted into the nose.
The doctor will also place a bite block is between the teeth to ensure easy insertion of the scope into the patient.
After The Procedure
After the procedure, the patient may experience some dizziness or fatigue. The patient might also feel nauseous or may vomit, and feel some bloatedness. Due to the insertion of the scope, the throat may also be sore.
Patients are advised to avoid driving, operating machinery and signing legal and other important documents immediately following the procedure. This is due to possible impairment of reaction and judgement resulting from the sedation.
Cost Of Gastroscopy In Singapore
Based on MOH benchmarks, the median costs (i.e. 50% of patients are charged below these costs – extracted 22 Dec 22)) for gastroscopy are:
- $366 (Subsidised rate for day surgery at a public hospital)
- $1,209 (Unsubsidised rate for day surgery at a public hospital)
- $1,780 (At a private clinic)
The cost for gastroscopy in Singapore may be covered under insurance and is MediSave claimable.
Where To Get A Gastroscopy In Singapore
Other than major public and private hospitals in Singapore, gastroscopy services are also available at clinics with expertise in gastroenterology. Some options you may consider include:
- Alpha Digestive & Liver Centre.
- Livingstone Digestive & Liver Clinic.
- Raffles Medical Group.
Further Reading – Stomach Cancer
This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.