An Endoscopy is a procedure designed to examine the inside of a patients body using an endoscope – a long, flexible and thin tube that is lighted with a camera attached to it.
The scope can be inserted into the body naturally either through the mouth and down the throat, or through the anal passage. It can also be inserted through an incision made to the skin however this is only usually done for keyhole surgery.
An endoscopy procedure can be used to examine a patients symptoms and assist with certain types of surgery. The endoscope can also be used to remove small tissue samples from a patient that can be used to investigate a condition further.
Your consultant may proceed with an endoscopy for reasons such as investigating swallowing difficulties, abdominal pain, chest pain, nausea and vomiting, weight loss, blood when vomiting, constant diarrhoea or blood in your stools.
There are different procedures depending on the area that needs to be investigated:
Gastroscopy – this involves an examination of the oesophagus. Your surgeon will place an endoscope inside a patient to examine the oesophagus, the stomach and small intestine.
Colonoscopy – is where your doctor examines the inner lining of the large intestine using a thin tube that has a camera on the end. A colonocscope will be inserted into your bowel through the back passage for a specialist to look inside.
Bronchoscopy – this is used to examine a patients airways if they have cough like symptoms or are coughing blood.
Hysteroscopy – used to examine the inside of a patients womb if vaginal bleeding or a miscarriage has occurred.
Cystoscopy – a procedure designed to examine the inside of the bladder if a patient has urinary incontinence or blood within the urine.
Endoscopic ultrasound – designed to display images of the internal organs and used to take tissue samples.
The procedure is not a painful one, you may experience some mild discomfort and feel as though you have a sore throat, you are given a local anaesthetic which will numb the specific area the endoscope will pass through. You may also be given a sedative to help you relax.
After the anaesthetic starts working the endoscope will be carefully inserted into the body via the desired area, where the scope is inserted will depend on what area of the body will be investigated.
The procedure usually takes around 15 minutes to an hour depending what the procedure is being carried out for. It is usually done as a day case therefore you will not have to stay in hospital overnight.