An endoscopy is a procedure that uses a tool called an endoscope. The endoscope is an important instrument that allows doctors to look inside the body and perform certain kinds of surgery. Many scopes are thin and hollow tubes. These usually have a light or a camera at the end so doctors can perform a detailed examination. The specific kind of endoscope used depends on the part of the body that is being examined. The endoscope is either placed in the mouth, anus, or urethra.
For a detailed list and explanations of the different types of endoscopies, visit the American Cancer Society site. Specifically, the various endoscopies include: anthroscopy, bronchoscopy, colonoscopy, cystoscopy, enteroscopy, hysteroscopy, laparoscopy, laryngoscopy, mediastinoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, thoracoscopy, upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, and ureteroscopy.
There are always new endoscopy technological updates. Newer technologies allow for high-definition imaging to create detailed images. The following are a few of the latest endoscopy technologies.
Chromoendoscopy uses a specialized stain or dye on the lining of the intestine. This technique is performed as an endoscopy procedure. The dye assists doctors by making it easier to see if there is anything wrong on the intestinal lining.
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
ERCP helps diagnose or treat problems associated with the bile and pancreatic ducts by combining X-rays with upper GI endoscopy.
This updated method is exactly how it sounds. Capsule endoscopy is a process in which a patient swallows a small capsule that has a small camera inside. The pill passes through the digestive tract and sends thousands of images of the intestines to the doctor’s monitor. A capsule endoscopy is a great option because it does not cause any discomfort to the patient.
Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)
EUS is a process that involves both an ultrasound and an endoscopy. Doctors use an EUS to view organs and other structures of the body that can not be seen during a regular endoscopy. A needle is inserted into the organ or structure to collect some tissue for analysis during a process called fine needle aspiration.
Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR)
EMR is a process that helps doctors remove cancerous tissue from the digestive tract. A needle is put through the endoscope and a liquid injection is sent underneath the abnormal tissue. This technique helps separate cancerous tissue from the other layers of tissue, which makes it easier to remove the abnormal tissues.
Narrow band imaging (NBI)
NBI helps doctors use a certain kind of filter to create a contrast between vessels and the inner lining of the digestive tract.
Preparation for an Endoscopy
Preparation for an endoscopy is pretty straight forward. Preparing for the different endoscopies requires a similar process. Your doctor will recommend that you avoid eating or drinking for several hours before the procedure. You will also need to inform your doctor of other medications you are taking. For example, you will need to stop taking blood-thinning medications several days before the endoscopy. Stop taking blood-thinning medications so that there will be a reduced risk of bleeding during and after the endoscopy. If you have more questions or concerns about which medications you should stop taking before the procedure, speak to your doctor.
Another step during preparation includes taking a laxative to clean out your bowels. However, this step is only required for certain kinds of endoscopy, such as a colonoscopy.
After an Endoscopy
After an edoscopy is performed, the patient can go home the same day. Your doctor will properly treat your wounds, if you have any, and inform you of the steps necessary towards recovery. It is important to have someone who you trust to drive you home because the effects of sedation do not immediately wear off. You may feel slightly uncomfortable, but you should not be experiencing any extreme side effects. If you feel any extreme side effects after several days, you will need to talk to your doctor.
Results will vary, depending on your condition. Your doctor will inform you about whether your results come out positive or negative.
During any medical procedure there are always risks. However, endoscopy has lower risks than open surgery. Risks from an endoscopy includes bleeding, infection, chest pain, damage to the organs, fever, pain that persists over time in the area of the endoscopy, and/or redness and swelling. The risks depend on the location of the endoscopy and the patient’s condition. If you are experiencing any chronic or extreme symptoms, it is important to contact your doctor. However, the procedure is overall very safe.