Endoscopy is a procedure used to closely examine the inside of your body. The procedure is performed using an endoscope, which is an instrument that holds a video camera. As the scope is gently inserted or threaded through your body, the camera transmits images to a computer screen.
There are different types of endoscopes. They’re different lengths and shapes, some are flexible while others are stiff, and some are inserted through body openings while others require a small incision. One type of endoscope is small enough to be swallowed, then it sends images wirelessly.
Each type of endoscope is specialized to examine a specific part of your body. For example, a laparoscope is used to examine your abdomen and a sigmoidoscope is designed to evaluate the rectum.
While endoscopy is commonly used to diagnose health problems, the procedure can also be used to treat conditions and to perform minimally-invasive surgery. The doctors at General Surgical Care often perform two types of endoscopy -- upper and lower gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopies.
Upper GI endoscopy, also called esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), is one of the most commonly performed endoscopic procedures. It’s used to examine, diagnose, and treat the upper portion of your gastrointestinal tract, which includes your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum, which is the first section of the small intestine.
The procedure uses a flexible endoscope, which is gently threaded through your mouth and down into the GI tract. The camera provides a detailed view of the lining of the upper GI structures, so doctors can see inflammation, disease, and polyps or tumors.
You may need an upper GI endoscopy to diagnose the underlying cause of swallowing difficulties, bleeding, indigestion, abdominal pain, acid reflux, and nausea. The doctors at General Surgical Care may use endoscopy to perform Nissen fundoplication, which is a type of minimally-invasive surgery to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
You may know a lower GI endoscopy as a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is used to examine the lining of your colon or large intestine. Colonoscopies are commonly used to screen for colon cancer. As precancerous growths are found in the colon, they can be removed to prevent or treat cancer.
A colonoscopy can also be used to diagnose and treat other health conditions in your colon. You may need a colonoscopy if you have GI bleeding, a blocked colon, or chronic constipation. It’s also recommended following treatment for diverticulitis to check for potential cancer.
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