Endoscopy: What Are The Reasons To Undergo The Procedure

Endoscopy is a non-invasive procedure used to test the digestive tract. An endoscope is a device, a flexible tube with a camera and light attached to it.

Endoscopy: What Are The Reasons To Undergo The Procedure

The doctor can view the pictures of the digestive tract on a coloured TV monitor. Some endoscopes have space where the doctor can insert a surgical instrument to perform surgery or tissue removal. 

There are reasons to undergo an endoscopy, one is to find the cause of digestive issues and symptoms, including treating different health problems, such as:

  • Chronic heartburn
  • Acid reflux

Types of endoscopy

Endoscopy allows a doctor to examine the digestive tract using a long and thin tube with a camera and light on the end. During upper endoscopy, a device named an endoscope will pass through the mouth and throat into the esophagus to view the following parts:

  • esophagus
  • stomach
  • small intestine's upper part

The endoscope can pass into the large intestine through the rectum to take a closer look at this area of the intestine. The procedure is what you call colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy, depending on the distance a colon is examined. The special form of endoscopy is called ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography).

ERCP allows pictures of the following organs:

  • pancreas
  • gallbladder
  • related structures

EUS (Endoscopic Ultrasound) combines ultrasound and upper endoscopy examination to get information and images about several parts of the digestive tract.

Why do you need an endoscopy?

Doctors recommend endoscopy to examine the following:

  1. Stomach pain
  2. Digestive tract bleeding
  3. Ulcers, difficulty in swallowing, or gastritis
  4. Changes in bowel habits 
  5. Routine colon cancer screening
  6. Polyps or growths in the colon

The doctor uses an endoscope to take a biopsy to look for possible causes of disease. Endoscopy may be used to treat the digestive tract problem. For instance, the endoscope can detect active bleeding from an ulcer, but devices are passed through the endoscope that stops the bleeding. 

In the colon, polyps are removed through the scope to avoid the development of colon cancer. Using ERCP, gallstones that pass outside the gallbladder and the bile duct are removed.

Diseases found by endoscopy

Some conditions that can be seen by endoscopy are:

  • Barrett's esophagus
  • Bile duct problems 
  • Cancer 
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) 
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)

Is endoscopy safe?

Yes, endoscopy is safe, but the procedure has a few potential complications, including:

  • Reaction to sedation
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Perforation (tear in the gut wall)
  • Pancreatitis (result of ERCP)

How to prepare for endoscopy?

For gut preparation. Checking the upper digestive tract requires nothing more than fasting (6-8 hours before the procedure). 

Sedation. For examinations with an endoscope, you are sedated. It increases the comfort. The sedative administered through an injection into the vein makes you relaxed and have a light sleep. The patient wakes up in an hour, but the medicine effects are prolonged. So, it is unsafe to drive until the next day.

Endoscopy takes half an hour to 2 hours. A patient is sedated during the procedure. So, no pain is felt. Although pressure is felt when the scope is inserted, it passes quickly.