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What is an endoscopy?


Endoscopy is a general term for a medical procedure that uses an endoscope. An endoscope is a small, tube-like instrument that is inserted into the body through a tiny incision or a body opening. It has a lighted camera that sends pictures of the inside of your body to a video screen. Doctors use endoscopic therapy to diagnose and treat many conditions. Common examples include peptic ulcers, appendicitis, colon polyps, and endometriosis. 

Endoscopic procedures are minimally invasive procedures because the endoscope is inserted into the body through a small incision or an opening in the body, such as the mouth or anus. You may have other options to diagnose or treat your condition. Consider getting a second opinion about all of your treatment choices before having an endoscopy.

Types of endoscopy

The types of endoscopy procedures include:

  • Arthroscopy examines and treats the joints. It involves inserting an endoscope through a small incision near a joint.

  • Bronchoscopy examines and treats the airways and lungs. It involves inserting an endoscope through the mouth or nose into the windpipe and lungs.

  • Colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy examine and treat the large intestine. These procedures involve inserting an endoscope into the large intestine through the anus.

  • Cystoscopy and ureteroscopy examine and treat the urethra, bladder and ureters of the urinary system. These procedures involve inserting an endoscope through the urethra and into the bladder and possibly the ureters.

  • Laparoscopy examines and treats the abdomen or pelvis. It involves inserting an endoscope through a small incision in the abdominal or pelvic area.

  • Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy examines and 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 is performed by inserting an endoscope through the mouth into the esophagus and possibly the stomach and duodenum.

Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Sep 9, 2016

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Medical References

  1. Arthroscopy. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
  2. Bronchoscopy. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.
  3. Endoscopic Therapy May Offer An Alternative To Surgery In Patients With Esophageal Cancer. Science Daily.
  4. Cystoscopy and Ureteroscopy. National Kidney & Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC).
  5. Laparoscopy. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
  6. Patient Information for Upper Endoscopy from SAGES. Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons.
  7. Photodynamic Therapy for Cancer. National Cancer Institute.
  8. Shaheen, N.J. et al. Radiofrequency Ablation in Barrett's Esophagus with Dysplasia. N Engl J Med 2009;360:2277-2288.
  9. Upper GI Endoscopy. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC).
  10. Pile, JC. Evaluating postoperative fever: A focused approach. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2006;73 (Suppl 1):S62.

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