Endoscopy

An endoscopy (looking inside) is used inmedicineto look inside the body.The endoscopy procedure uses anendoscopeto examine the interior of a hollow organ or cavity of the body. Unlike many othermedical imagingtechniques,endoscopesare inserted directly into the organ.

There are many types ofendoscopes. Depending on the site in the body and type of procedure anendoscopymay be performed either by a doctor or asurgeon. A patient may be fully conscious oranaesthetisedduring the procedure. Most often the termendoscopyis used to refer to an examination of the upper part of thegastrointestinal tract, known as anesophagogastroduodenoscopy.

A health care provider may use endoscopy for any of the following:

    • investigation of symptoms, such as symptoms in the digestive system including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing, and gastrointestinal bleeding.
    • confirmation of a diagnosis, most commonly by performing a biopsy to check for conditions such as anemia, bleeding, inflammation, and cancers of the digestive system.
    • giving treatment, such as cauterization of a bleeding vessel, widening a narrow esophagus, clipping off a polyp or removing a foreign object.
    • Specialty professional organizations which specialize in digestive problems advise that many patients with Barrett’s esophagus are too frequently receiving endoscopies. Such societies recommend that patients with Barrett’s esophagus and no cancer symptoms after two biopsies receive biopsies as indicated and no more often than the recommended rate.