Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Upper GI endoscopy and dilatation

4-minute read

What is an upper GI endoscopy and dilatation?

An upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy is a procedure to look at the inside of your oesophagus (gullet), stomach and duodenum using a flexible telescope.

Your symptoms or previous tests suggest you may have a narrowing (stricture). A dilatation involves stretching the narrowed area.

Illustration showing an upper GI endoscopy.
An upper GI endoscopy.

What are the benefits of an upper GI endoscopy and dilatation?

An upper GI endoscopy is a good way of finding out if there is a problem.

It is important to know what is causing the narrowing to decide on any further treatment.

Are there any alternatives to an upper GI endoscopy and dilatation?

Your doctor has recommended an upper GI endoscopy and dilatation as it is the best way of diagnosing and treating the narrowing. You can decide to leave the problem alone but this is not recommended.

What does the procedure involve?

An upper GI endoscopy and dilatation usually takes about 15 minutes.

The endoscopist may offer you a sedative or painkiller to help you to relax and feel more comfortable.

The endoscopist will place a flexible telescope (endoscope) into the back of your throat. From here the endoscope will pass into your duodenum.

The endoscopist will be able to look for problems in these organs. They will be able to perform biopsies and take photographs to help make the diagnosis.

The endoscopist can perform a dilatation using one of the following techniques.

  • Guidewire and dilators — This involves inserting a guidewire (thin flexible wire) down the endoscope and across the narrowing.
  • Balloon dilator — This involves passing a balloon dilator down the endoscope and inflating it while inside the narrowing.

If the video doesn't load, try this link.

What complications can happen?

Some complications can be serious and can even cause death.

  • allergic reaction
  • sore throat
  • breathing difficulties or heart irregularities
  • heart attack or stroke
  • bleeding
  • infection
  • making a hole in your oesophagus, stomach or duodenum
  • damage to teeth or bridgework
  • incomplete procedure

How soon will I recover?

After the procedure you will be transferred to the recovery area where you can rest. If you were not given a sedative, you should be able to go home.

If you were given a sedative, you will usually recover in about an hour.

You should be able to return to work after 1 to 2 days unless you are told otherwise.

The healthcare team will tell you what was found during the endoscopy and discuss with you any treatment or follow-up you need.

Regular exercise should improve your long-term health. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.


An upper GI endoscopy and dilatation is usually a safe and effective way of finding out if there is a problem with the upper part of your digestive system and treating your symptoms.


The operation and treatment information on this page is published under license by Healthdirect Australia from EIDO Healthcare Australia and is protected by copyright laws. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you. Medical Illustration Copyright ©

For more on how this information was prepared, click here.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: September 2023

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Upper endoscopy | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

What is an upper endoscopy? An upper endoscopy is a procedure where a doctor inserts a flexible tube with a lens and a light source, to look at the lining of the upper part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Gastroscopy (endoscopy)

Gastroscopy (or endoscopy) is an examination of the oesophagus (gullet or food pipe), stomach and duodenum (upper part of the small bowel) using a flexible telescope called a gastroscope.

Read more on WA Health website

Endoscopy -

Endoscopy is a medical procedure where a doctor uses a thin flexible lighted tube inserted into the body to look for, diagnose, treat and prevent disease.

Read more on myDr website

Endoscopy | Cancer Council

What is an endoscopy or gastroscopy? Find out how it helps a diagnosis, what to expect and how can you prepare for it. Find out more here

Read more on Cancer Council Australia website

An introduction to endoscopy investigations information |myVMC

Endoscopy is a group of procedures, including colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy, for viewing the internal body cavities using a camera on a long flexible tube.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Gastroscopy: examination of the upper digestive tract -

Gastroscopy is an examination of the upper digestive tract (the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum) using an endoscope - a long, thin, flexible tube containing a camera and light.

Read more on myDr website

Peptic ulcers -

An ulcer is an area of damage to the lining of the stomach or upper part of the intestine.

Read more on myDr website

Colonoscopy: examination of the colon -

A colonoscopy is an examination of the colon (large bowel), using a colonoscope a long, thin, flexible tube containing a camera and a light.

Read more on myDr website

Gastro-oesophageal reflux & GORD: babies | Raising Children Network

Gastro-oesophageal reflux is when your child brings stomach contents back up into his foodpipe or mouth. GORD is when reflux leads to complications.

Read more on website

Stomach and oesophageal cancer

Information about stomach and oesophageal cancer

Read more on WA Health website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Queensland Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.