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Endoscopy is a medical procedure that involves inserting a long, thin, flexible tube called an endoscope into the body to examine the internal organs or tissues. The endoscope usually has a light and a camera attached to it, which allows the doctor to view the inside of the body on a screen in real-time. Endoscopy can also be used to perform certain procedures, such as taking tissue samples for biopsy or removing polyps.

Why and when is it done

Benefits of endoscopy

Endoscopy may be performed to:

  • Diagnostic purposes: An endoscopy may be done to help diagnose certain conditions or diseases in the digestive system, such as ulcers, polyps, cancer, or inflammation.
  • Screening purposes: Endoscopy may be done as a screening tool to detect early signs of cancer or other digestive problems, especially for those at high risk of developing them.
  • Treatment purposes: Endoscopy can also be used for certain therapeutic purposes, such as to remove polyps, take biopsy samples, or stop bleeding from ulcers.
  • Follow-up purposes: Endoscopy may be used to monitor the effectiveness of treatments or to evaluate any changes in the digestive system after a surgical procedure.

Endoscopic treatment offers several benefits, including:

  • Accurate diagnosis: Endoscopy enables doctors to directly visualize the internal organs, take samples, and perform biopsies, making it a valuable tool for diagnosing various conditions accurately.
  • Minimally invasive: Endoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that involves only a small incision or natural opening, resulting in less pain, reduced bleeding, and faster recovery time compared to traditional surgery.
  • Outpatient procedure: Most endoscopic procedures are outpatient procedures, which means that the patient can go home the same day, reducing the need for hospitalization and associated costs.
  • Reduced risk of complications: Endoscopy carries fewer risks of complications than traditional surgery, such as infections, bleeding, and scarring.
  • Personalized treatment: Endoscopy allows doctors to tailor treatments to the individual patient, resulting in more personalized and effective treatments.
  • Real-time imaging: Endoscopy provides real-time imaging of the internal organs, allowing doctors to make more accurate diagnoses and perform more precise treatments.

Risks associated with Endoscopy

While endoscopy is a very safe procedure, it does carry certain risks which come with every procedure:

  • Bleeding in case the procedure is done for a biopsy
  • Minor infections in case of additional procedures performed along with endoscopy
  • A tear in your GI tract
  • Reaction to sedation or anesthesia

How is the procedure performed

One you lie down, the procedure gets underway:

  • Monitors are attached to the body
  • Sedation might be given to calm the nerves
  • An anesthetic spray will be used to keep your mouth open along with mouth guard
  • The endoscope is inserted into your mouth
  • As the endoscope passes through your esophagus, a tiny camera transmits image to be monitor
  • Gentle air pressure might be passed to inflate your digestive tract for better examination
  • Surgical tools can be passed through the endoscope to get a biopsy or remove a polyp