Endoscopy

March 17 20:11 2019 Print This Article

Endoscopy is a technique by which the inside of the body can be examined through special instruments (generally called endoscopes) that illuminate and magnify the area concerned. Some endoscopes are rigid tubes, while others are flexible and rely on special fibre-optic cables that can transmit light around bends without loss of its intensity or quality. Endoscopes specially designed to examine particular parts of the body are named accordingly. For example, the interior of the stomach is examined by a gastroscope, the bronchi by a bronchoscope and the inside of joints by an arthroscope,

Endoscopes are usually introduced into the body through natural openings, such as the mouth, anus or urethra (which drains urine from the bladder but for some examinations a small incision must be made through the skin. Some endoscopic examinations are performed in the doctor’s consulting rooms, with no preparation or only mild sedation. Others must be done in a hospital under operating theatre conditions, some needing general anaesthetic. Many endoscopes are equipped with built-in devices for taking BIOPSY specimens and removing small tumours. Tiny, remote-controlled instruments can be passed through some endoscopes for cutting, removing stones or foreign bodies, and applying diathermy (heat), dips or other treatments. Tiny cameras canl transmit images to a video screen.

Endoscopy has provided a great advance in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the interior of hollow organs and internal body spaces such as joint cavities.

Endoscopy can often be done on an outpatient basis. “Outpatient” means that the procedure does not require hospital admission and acute care and observation and may be performed outside the premises of a hospital. During an endoscopy, the patient is sedated (given a drug to help them relax and possibly sleep). With the right sedation, the patient should experience little if any discomfort. An endoscopy may be performed for a variety of signs and symptoms, including bleeding, pain, difficulty swallowing, and a change in bowel habits. Exams of the colon may also be performed to screen for colon polyps and colon cancer. Endoscopies also can be used to perform treatment procedures. For example, bleeding from lesions can be stopped, and colon polyps can be removed. Usually, an endoscope is inserted through one of the body’s natural openings, such as the mouth, urethra or anus. Some endoscopies may require a small incision through the skin, and are usually performed under general or local anaesthetic.

What is it used for?

  • For a variety of signs and symptoms, including bleeding, pain, difficulty swallowing, and a change in bowel habits.
  • Exams of the colon may also be performed to screen for colon polyps and colon cancer.
  • The nasal cavity and sinuses surrounding the nose.
  • Examination of the foetus in the womb.
  • To give different information about an organ than what a standard endoscopy can provide.
  • Examin of the abdomen and pelvis (laparoscopy).

How to prepare for the test?

  • You may also be asked to clear the colon of stool, using enemas or laxatives.
  • Do not eat or drink before some types of endoscopy, such as an examination of the upper gastrointestinal tract.

What the risks are?

  • Reactions to the anesthesia can occur.
  • The major risks are pain, or infection.
  • For gastrointestinal endoscopy, there is also a risk of perforation of the intestinal wall.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • If a tissue sample is taken, there may also be some bleeding from the site.
  • Over-sedation.

Things to remember

  • Endoscopy can often be done on an outpatient basis.
  • Endoscopy is a medical procedure that allows a doctor to observe the inside of the body without performing major surgery.
  • Some endoscopies may require a small incision through the skin.
  • Endoscopies also can be used to perform treatment procedures.
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