What is an Endoscopy

Endoscopy is a method through which doctors can see inside a person’s body using an endoscope. It consists of a long, thin and flexible tube which has a video camera on one its end. When it is inserted inside the human body, the doctor can see each and everything on the monitor. It is a non surgical procedure. It is done by gastroenterologists. Other specialists like gastrointestinal surgeons can also perform this procedure. The endoscope is inserted into the body through the mouth or the rectum. Endoscopy is performed to diagnose the gastrointestinal problems like severe stomach pain, stomach ulcers etc. The images captured through the endoscopy are recorded so that these can be checked again properly if needed. The patient is given anesthesia to perform endoscopy. The patient usually wakes up about an hour or so after the endoscopy is done. The patient will have to fast for around 6-8 hours before the endoscopy. He/she will be asked not to eat anything and you will be given laxative to clear the bowels too. Depending on the problem, the endoscope will be put into your body through mouth, rectum or urethra. In some cases, the tube is inserted through a small cut made in the skin into the body. Sometimes, during endoscopy, bleeding can take place due to tear in the abdominal wall but there is nothing to worry about. It can also have reaction to the sedation, infection and perforation. But these side effects are not very severe. There are many types of endoscopes which are used depending on the problem. Some of them are rigid and some of them are flexible.

  • Bronchoscope: this is inserted through the mouth or nose. It is used to view lungs or windpipe. The procedure is called as bronchoscopy.
  • Colonoscope: it is inserted through anus or rectum. It is used to examine large intestine or colon. The procedure is called as colonoscopy.
  • Cytoscope: it is inserted through urethra. It is used to examine bladder and the procedure is known as cytoscopy.
  • Hysteroscope: it is inserted through vagina and it is used to examine uterus. This procedure is called as hysteroscopy.
  • Laparoscope: it is inserted through the cuts made in the abdomen. It is performed to examine inside the space between abdomen and pelvis. This exam is called as laparoscopy.
  • Laryngoscopy: it is inserted through mouth or nose and is used to examine larynx. It is called laryngscopy.

Other types of endoscopy are thoracoscope, mediastinoscope, sigmoidoscope, proctoscope, gastroscope, ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography) and EGD (esophogealgastroduodensoscopy). ERCP is mostly done to remove the gallstones from the gallbladder. Endoscopy is very safe. It has very few complications but it should be done by an experienced physician. Otherwise it can give you internal problems. You should let your doctor know about the allergy if you have any as it can create problems in this operation.

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