Endoscopy is a way of looking inside the body using a flexible tube that has a small camera and light on the end of it. This instrument is called an endoscope.
Small instruments can be inserted through an endoscope and used to:
- Look more closely at an area inside the body
- Take samples of abnormal tissues
- Treat certain diseases
- Remove tumors
- Stop bleeding
- Remove foreign bodies (such as food stuck in the esophagus, the tube that connects your throat to your stomach)
An endoscope is passed through a natural body opening or small cut. There are many types of endoscopes. Each one is named according to the organs or areas they are used to examine.
Examples of endoscopy include:
- Anoscopy views the inside of the anus, the very lowest part of the colon.
- Capsule Endoscopy uses a miniature camera inside a pill-sized capsule to examine all parts of the small intestine, looking for bleeding sites or tumors.
- Colonoscopy views the inside of the colon (large intestine) and rectum.
- Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) employs an ultrasound device inside a flexible tube to examine the deeper layers of the esophagus, stomach, duodenum, bile duct, pancreas, and gallbladder. Therapeutic uses of this technique include obtaining non-surgical biopsies of difficult-to-reach lesions.
- Enteroscopy views the small intestine (small bowel).
- ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) views the biliary tract, small tubes that drain the gallbladder, liver, and pancreas.
- Sigmoidoscopy views the inside the sigmoid colon and rectum.
- Upper endoscopy (or EGD) views the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine.
- Nasal endoscopy is used to view the inside of the nose and sinuses to check for problems.
- Bronchoscopy is used to look in the airways and lungs.
- Cystoscopy is used to view the inside of the bladder. The scope is passed through the opening of the urethra.
- Laparoscopy is used to look directly at the ovaries, appendix, or other abdominal organs. The scope is inserted through small surgical cuts in the pelvic or belly area. Tumors or organs in the abdomen or pelvis can be removed.
- Arthroscopy is used to look directly in the joints. The scope is inserted through small surgical cuts around the joint. Problems with bones, tendons, ligaments can be treated.
How to Prepare for an Endoscopy
Preparation for the procedure varies depending on the test. For example, there is no preparation needed for anoscopy. But a special diet and laxatives are needed to prepare for a colonoscopy. Follow your health care provider's instructions.