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What is endoscopic therapy?

Endoscopic Therapy

Endoscopic therapy is a general term for treatments performed using an endoscope. An endoscope is a small, tube-like instrument that is inserted into the body through a tiny incision or a body opening, such as the mouth. 

An endoscope has a lighted camera that transmits pictures of the inside of your body to a video screen viewed by the doctor. Doctors use an endoscope to examine and treat many conditions. The endoscope guides minimally invasive treatments that are performed using small instruments or medications. 

Common conditions treated by endoscope include peptic ulcer, gallbladder disease, appendicitis, colon polyps, and endometriosis.

Types of endoscopic therapy

Endoscopic therapy is used with the following procedures:

  • Arthroscopy treats joints and involves inserting an endoscope through a small incision near a joint.
  • Bronchoscopy treats the airways and lungs. It is performed by inserting an endoscope through the mouth or nose into the windpipe and lungs. Your doctor can take tissue or fluid samples for diagnosis, as well as remove inhaled foreign objects from the lungs.
  • Colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy treat the large intestine. These procedures involve inserting an endoscope into the large intestine through the anus.
  • Cystoscopy and ureteroscopy treat the urethra, bladder and ureters of the urinary system. These procedures are performed by inserting an endoscope through the urethra and into the bladder and possibly the ureters.
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreotography (ERCP) is an endoscopy performed through the mouth. The endoscope is passed into the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. It treats gallstones and pancreatitis.
  • Laparoscopy treats the abdomen or pelvis. It involves inserting an endoscope through a small incision in the abdominal or pelvic area.
  • Upper gastrointestinal endoscopic therapy treats the esophagus, stomach and duodenum, the first section of the small intestine. If only the esophagus is involved, it is called an esophagoscopy. If all of these organs are involved it is called an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD). The procedure involves inserting an endoscope through the mouth into the esophagus and possibly the stomach and duodenum.

Other procedures that may be performed

Endoscopic therapy includes examining the body area and taking computerized pictures that are saved in your medical record. Your doctor may also perform a biopsy, which is the removal of a sample of tissue to be examined for disease or cancer.

Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Jul 12, 2013

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Medical References

Arthroscopy. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00109. Accessed May 3, 2013.
Bronchoscopy. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/bron/bron_whatis.html. Accessed May 3, 2013.
Endoscopic Therapy May Offer An Alternative To Surgery In Patients With Esophageal Cancer. Science Daily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081006092650.htm. Accessed May 3, 2013.
Cystoscopy and Ureteroscopy. National Kidney & Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC). http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/cystoscopy/. Accessed May 3, 2013.
Laparoscopy. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq061.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130503T1133444217. Accessed May 3, 2013.
Patient Information for Upper Endoscopy from SAGES. Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons. http://www.sages.org/publication/id/PI16/. Accessed May 3, 2013.
Photodynamic Therapy for Cancer. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Therapy/photodynamic. Accessed May 3, 2013.
Shaheen, N.J. et al. Radiofrequency Ablation in Barrett's Esophagus with Dysplasia. N Engl J Med 2009;360:2277-2288. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0808145#t=articleDiscussion. Accessed May 3, 2013.
Upper GI Endoscopy. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC). http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/upperendoscopy/. Accessed May 3, 2013.
Pile, JC. Evaluating postoperative fever: A focused approach. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2006;73 (Suppl 1):S62. http://ccjm.org/content/73/Suppl_1/S62.full.pdf. Accessed May 3, 2013.

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