An OGD (oesophago-gastroduodenoscopy, also known as a ‘gastroscopy’) is generally the same as an endoscopy but is performed specifically to examine the inside of the oesophagus (gullet) and stomach, and sometimes also the top section of the small intestine (the duodenum).
There are a number of reasons why an OGD might be required, such as persistent stomach pain, bleeding or vomiting, or difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), as well as symptoms such as unexplained weight loss and chest pain.
During the procedure, a gastrocope – a thin flexible tube with a light and camera on the end – is inserted through the throat. This is done very gently and slowly by an experienced specialist and shouldn’t be painful. Sprays to numb the throat can help ensure the procedure is as comfortable as possible, and the specialist will talk you through the process. If you’re very anxious, sedation may sometimes be an option, although this isn’t always required.
Images from the gastroscope are relayed simultaneously onto a screen, enabling the specialist to guide the camera and make assessments and identify any potential abnormalities. Sometimes, additional procedures and treatments can be carried out at the same time, such as taking tissue samples for lab testing (biopsies).