Expert care for conditions affecting the esophagus, stomach and small intestine

Gastroscopy at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital–Needham

A gastroscopy is a procedure that allows a gastroenterologist to look at the lining of your esophagus (food tube), stomach and duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) from the inside. The procedure uses a thin, flexible tube with a light and tiny camera on the end. During the procedure, the gastroenterologist advances the scope from your mouth into the duodenum.

Gastroscopies at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital–Needham take place in our Endoscopy Unit in the Outpatient Clinical Center on our main campus. Our state-of-the-art unit offers the latest technology, an expert staff and an inviting place to help you stay as relaxed as possible during your visit.

Reasons to Have a Gastroscopy

Your primary care doctor or gastroenterologist may recommend a gastroscopy procedure if you have certain symptoms. These could include indigestion, dark or black stools, nausea or difficulty swallowing.

Using gastroscopy, doctors can diagnose and treat various conditions. These include ulcers (sores on the digestive tract lining), polyps (non-cancerous growths), blockages in the digestive tract, inflammation and tumors. They also use gastroscopy to do small procedures, including:

  • Take a small tissue sample for testing.
  • Stop bleeding from an ulcer.
  • Remove polyps.
How to Prepare for a Gastroscopy

The gastroenterologist’s office will give you information about how to prepare for your procedure. The instructions may include:

  • Fasting from food and water before your procedure.
  • Not taking certain medications, such as blood thinners, iron tablets, diabetic, and weight management medications.
What to Expect on the Day of Your Gastroscopy

The endoscopy team is dedicated to making you as comfortable as possible from the moment you arrive at the Outpatient Clinical Center. A team member will greet you and escort you to the treatment area. You will change into a gown, answer questions about your health history and sign consent forms. The gastroenterologist will answer any questions you have before getting started.

If you have dentures or plates, you’ll remove them before the procedure. The nurse will place a mouthguard between your teeth.

You will receive medication through an IV line. The nurse also will attach monitoring equipment (such as a heart monitor and blood pressure cuff) and provide nasal oxygen.

To perform the gastroscopy, the doctor will pass the gastroscope over your tongue and down your throat to the area of concern. This can be slightly uncomfortable but not painful. It will not interfere with your ability to breathe. If saliva builds up in your mouth, the nurse will clear it with a small, plastic suction tube.

The gastroscopy procedure takes about five to 10 minutes. After the procedure, you will go to the recovery area for about an hour.

Before you go home, the care team will give you instructions on diet, medications and any follow-up care you may need. The physician also will discuss the initial findings with you at that time.

A responsible adult will need to pick you up in our Center 2 hours after your scheduled arrival time. A rideshare (Uber, Lyft, etc.), taxi, or public transportation is allowed only if a responsible friend or family member accompanies you. If you do not have a ride arranged your procedure cannot be performed with sedation.

After Your Gastroscopy

After you return home, you may eat and drink as usual unless the doctor or nurse tells you otherwise. If you had sedation, don’t do any of the following for 24 hours after your procedure:

  • Drink alcoholic beverages
  • Drive a vehicle
  • Make any important decisions or sign legal documents
  • Operate machinery
  • Take sleeping medication

Contact the endoscopy team if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Consistent belly pain
  • Fever or chills
  • Vomiting
  • Frequent, bloody stools

If the gastroenterologist sends tissue to a lab for testing, your results will be available on our Patient Portal. The gastroenterologist may recommend follow-up care depending on your test results.

Schedule an Appointment

To make an appointment for Dr. Steven Cohen, Dr. Stephen Rotman, or Dr. Sonal Ullman call Needham Gastroenterology Associates directly at 781-444-6460 or call the Gastroenterology Department at 781-453-7861.

To make an appointment for Dr. Matthew Sullivan, call 781-453-3688.

Services & Specialties

Gastroenterologists work with these and other specialties at BID Needham to deliver the care you need.