An endoscopy is a nonsurgical procedure in which a gastroenterologist uses a device with a light attached to it for examining inside the human body. An endoscopy requires the use of an endoscope, which is used for different types of exams, including the following list (titled according to the area of the body):
- Arthroscope – looks within the joints
- Bronchoscope – looks within the airways and lungs
- Cystoscope – looks inside the bladder
- Laparoscope – looks inside the appendix, abdominal organs and ovaries
To examine the digestive tract, a gastroenterologist will use a gastrointestinal endoscope.
How does an endoscopy work?
According to MedlinePlus, an endoscope is passed through a natural body opening or small cut. Getting inside the digestive tract requires a gastroenterologist to pass the endoscope through the mouth or anus.
When should a patient get an endoscopy?
A doctor may recommend an endoscopy when a patient complains of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Stomach pain
There may be other variables as well that will determine whether a endoscopy is needed.
How does a patient prepare for an endoscopy?
It depends on what the gastroenterologist is looking for. Typically, a patient may be instructed not to eat or drink before the procedure. Laxatives may also be used to help clear out the large intestine.
Preparation may vary depending on what the endoscopy is for. In some cases, a doctor may need to attach a small instrument to the endoscope for the ability to extract samples of abnormal tissues. An endoscope can also be paired with an ultrasound probe, which is formally called an endoscopic ultrasound.