An endoscopy involves examining the inside of a person's body using an endoscope. The whole endoscopy is recorded so that doctors can check it again. Endoscopy is a minimally invasive diagnostic medical procedure.
The endoscope can also be used for enabling biopsies and retrieving foreign objects.
Endoscopy is a noninvasive alternative to surgery for foreign object removal from the gastrointestinal tract.
When is an endoscopy used?
To confirm a diagnosis
An endoscopy is often used to confirm a diagnosis when other devices, such as an MRI, X-ray, or CT scan are considered inappropriate.
An endoscopy is often carried out to find out the degree of problems a known condition may have caused. The endoscopy, in these cases, may significantly contribute towards the doctor's decision on the best treatment for the patient.
The following conditions and illnesses are most commonly investigated or diagnosed with an endoscopy:
Irritable bowel syndrome
Urinary tract infections.
Endoscopies are commonly used for the diagnosis of cancer. They are used for biopsies - taking samples of tissue to find out whether it is cancerous. Thanks to an endoscope, biopsies of the intestines or lungs can be done without the need for major surgery. This study explains that colonoscopy is the most effective screening option for colorectal cancer.
Some surgical procedures can be carried out with a modified endoscope, such as the removal of the gallbladder, tying and sealing the fallopian tubes, and taking out small tumors and foreign objects from the lungs or digestive system. A study found that the removal through endoscopy of tumors that affect only the superficial layers of the esophagus can avoid complete extirpation of this part of the digestive tract.
A laparoscope is a type of endoscope which is used for keyhole surgery or laparoscopic surgery. Laparoscopic surgery requires only a small incision and is commonly used today for appendectomies, hysterectomies, and prostatectomies. Patients lose much less blood during and after surgery and recover much faster, compared to other surgical procedures.
A study carried out by the 3M Infection Inspection Division found that 3 in every 20 endoscopes had unacceptable levels of "bio dirt".
Short history of endoscopy
Reports indicate that the first endoscope was devised in 1805. Fiber optics, which appeared in the 1960s, was a major factor in the endoscopy revolution.
Endoscopy has many uses today
An endoscope can be fitted with surgical instruments; it can send pulses or heat and electricity and destroy small tumors or gallstones. Specialized endoscopes have their own names, such as:
Bronchoscopes - they examine the air passages and the lungs.
Colonoscopes - they examine the colon.
Gastroscopes - they examine the small intestine, stomach and esophagus (throat).
Arthroscopes - they examine the joints.
Hysteroscopes - they examine a woman's uterus.
Cystoscopes - they examine the urinary bladder.
Types of endoscopies
Here is a list of some types of endoscopies and their meanings:
Amnioscopy - examination of the amniotic cavity and fetus.
Arthroscopy - examination of the joints.
Bronchoscopy - examination of the air passages and the lungs.
Colonoscopy - examination of the colon.
Colposcopy - examination of the cervix and the tissues of the vagina and vulva.
Cystoscopy - examination of the urinary bladder.
EGD (Esophageal Gastroduodenoscopy), also known as panendoscopy - examination of the esophagus, duodenum and stomach.
ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography) - examination of the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, and pancreas.
Fetoscopy - examination of the fetus.
Laparoscopy - a small incision to examine the abdominal cavity.
Laryngoscopy - examination of the back of the throat, including the voice box (larynx) and vocal cords.
Proctoscopy - examination of the rectum and the end of the colon.
Rhinoscopy - examination of the inside of the nose.
Thoracoscopy - examination of the lungs or other structures in the chest cavity.
An endoscopy involves examining the inside of a person's body using an endoscope. The whole endoscopy is recorded so that doctors can check it again. Endoscopy is a minimally invasive diagnostic medical procedure. Endoscopies are commonly used for the diagnosis of cancer. Fiber optics, which appeared in the 1960s, was a major factor in the endoscopy revolution.