Gastroenterology Procedures



A colonoscopy is a diagnostic test that looks at your colon. It’s normally recommended if you’ve persistent diarrhoea, a change in your bowel movements, bleeding or mucus from your back passage or pains in your lower tummy.

A colonoscope is a long, thin, flexible telescopic camera. Your gastroenterologist will request a colonoscopy to look at the lining of your large bowel, also known as the colon and rectum. The colonoscopy is usually done as an outpatient or day case procedure and takes about half an hour. It can be used to find out more about the symptoms you are having, to check for cancer or as part of bowel cancer screening.

Your colonoscopy may confirm conditions such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, bowel polyps and bowel (colorectal) cancer.


A gastroscopy, also known as an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, is a procedure that allows your consultant to see inside your oesophagus (gullet), stomach and first part of your small intestine (duodenum).

It’s normally performed as a day case procedure using local anaesthetic. A thin, flexible tube with a camera and light source is passed through your mouth and allows your specialist to see any abnormalities in the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum. For example, if there’s any damage to the lining of your oesophagus or stomach or if there are any ulcers in the stomach or duodenum.

Patients often have a gastroscopy examination to investigate their indigestion symptoms.

Lactose intolerance quick test

At Ashtead Hospital during a gastroscopy we can perform a lactose intolerance quick test, called a Biohit lactose Intolerance test, to detect lactase deficiency based on the activity of the lactase enzyme in a biopsy specimen. This test is fast and simple and results are available in just 20 minutes. It’s a sensitive diagnostic tool as well as being a more accurate predictor of clinical response to a lactose-free diet than the lactose breath test in.


An endoscopy allows your consultant to look inside your body using a long, thin, flexible tube that has a light source and camera, called an endoscope.

Video capsule endoscopy

Ashtead Hospital offers the latest in diagnostic tests through video capsule endoscopy (VCE). This small, disposable capsule with a wireless camera is simply swallowed and allows visualisation of your whole GI tract, and in particular your small bowel, an area previously impossible to see adequately.

Video capsules are used to: diagnose small bowel pathologies and negate the need for tests with harmful radiation or invasive surgery, diagnose the cause of obscure GI bleeding and small bowel Crohn’s disease and, to investigate chronic gastroenterology conditions.

Oesophageal capsules allow the surveillance of patients with Barrett’s and the diagnosis of oesophageal varices in patients with an acute upper GI bleed. Colon capsules are used for patients who can’t tolerate colonoscopy or if the colonoscopy is incomplete.

Flexible sigmoidoscopy

A flexible sigmoidoscopy is an examination used to look inside your rectum and lower part of your bowel. It involves carefully inserting a thin, flexible, tube-like telescope called a sigmoidoscope into your back passage. A flexible sigmoidoscopy test typically takes about 15 minutes and is performed as an outpatient procedure.

It’s used if you’ve symptoms such as changes in bowel habit or rectal pain to find out their cause and check for inflammation, early signs of cancer and polyps. Biopsies can also be taken during a flexible sigmoidoscopy exam. Polyps may be removed and haemorrhoids treated during the procedure.

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