- What is
Endoscopy is a procedure that uses specialized tools to visualize and operate on the internal organs of the body. Endoscopy is a minimally invasive diagnostic medical procedure. This procedure allows visualizing the problems within the body without need of making large incisions. An endoscope is used to perform this procedure. An endoscope is a device consisting of a long, thin, flexible tube which has a light and a video camera. With the help of this endoscope image of the inside of the patientís body can be seen on a monitor screen. The endoscope can also be used for enabling biopsies and retrieving foreign objects. It is a non invasive alternative to surgery for foreign object removal from the gastrointestinal tract. The whole procedure is recorded so that doctor can review it again.
This procedure is used to examine upper gastrointestinal tract. An endoscope is easily passed through the mouth and throat and in to the esophagus allowing the doctor to view the esophagus, stomach, and upper part of the small intestine.
Lower Endoscopy (Colonoscopy or Sigmoidoscopy):
In this procedure endoscope is passed in to the large intestine (colon) through the rectum to examine this area of intestine. This procedure is called sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy depending on how far up the colon is examined.
ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreaticography):
ERCP is a special form of endoscopy that allows pictures of the pancreas, gallbladder and related structures to be taken.
Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS):
EUS combines upper endoscopy and ultrasound examination to obtain images and information about various parts of the gastrointestinal tract.
Applications of Endoscopy:
Endoscopy is often used to confirm a diagnosis when other devices such as MRI, x ray or CT scan are considered inappropriate.
Most common conditions that can be diagnosed with an endoscopy are:
- Internal bleeding
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Stomach ulcers
- Chronic diarrhea
- Cancerous changes in GI lining
Endoscopy is commonly used for the diagnosis of cancer. Samples of tissue to find out whether it is cancerous can be taken using endoscope. Endoscopy is the most effective screening option for colorectal cancer.
Some surgical procedure can be carried out with a modified endoscope, such as the removal of the gall bladder, tying and sealing of the fallopian tubes and taking out small tumors and foreign objects from the lungs or digestive system.
Risks of Endoscopy:
Compared to open surgery, endoscopy has a much lower risk of bleeding and infection. There are some rare complications such as:
- Damage to organs
- Fluid or pus discharge
- Temperature (fever)
- Piercing or tearing of an organ
Examining the upper gastrointestinal tract requires nothing more than fasting for 6-8 hours prior to the procedure where as to examine the colon, it must be cleared of stool. Therefore a laxative or group of laxatives is given on the day before the procedure.
For most endoscopic procedures a sedative is used. This increases the comfort of the individual undergoing the procedure. The sedative is administered via an injection in to the vein that produces relaxation and light sleep. General anesthesia is given in only very special circumstances.