What Is An Endoscopy?
As a trained Gastroenterologist, I perform all my own endoscopic procedures. An endoscopy is a relatively simple test to examine the oesophagus, stomach, and duodenum. It is routinely performed for symptoms of the upper gastrointestinal tract including abdominal pain, dyspepsia and reflux symptoms. In addition, for patients with established liver disease, we routinely perform an endoscopy to screen for oesophageal or gastric varices, which can carry a significant risk of life threatening bleeding.
Colonoscopy is used to investigate the large bowel or colon. A colonoscopy is indicated for the investigation of many symptoms including rectal bleeding, change in bowel habit, abdominal pain, weight loss, and diarrhea.
Why You May Need An Endoscopy
It may be needed for various reasons. Common reasons include to find out the cause of particular symptoms a patient may be experiencing, as well as for diagnosing particular diseases. It can also be used to screen for certain types of cancer.
Typical Symptoms That May Require An Endoscopy Include:
- Problems with swallowing
- Abdominal pain
- Chest pain unrelated to heart conditions
- Persistent nausea or vomiting
- Unexplained weight loss
- Persistent diarrhoea
- Blood in the stool
How Does An Endoscopy Work?
An endoscope is used during the procedure which is a long and flexible tube with a light source at camera at one end. During the procedure the camera records images inside of the body that are then relayed to a monitor for your Consultant to view.
Types Of Endoscopy
Gastroscopy: For examination of the oesophagus, stomach or first part of the small intestine
Colonoscopy: For examination of the bowel
Endoscopy For Surgery
An endoscopy can also be used for surgery with a modified endoscope attached with surgical instruments. Examples of this include to remove gallstones or kidney stones as well as to repair a bleeding stomach ulcer or remove tumours from the lungs or digestive system.Laparoscopic surgery is a type of endoscopy used by surgeons during surgery as a visual aid when undertaking keyhole surgery. Common types of keyhole surgery include removing an inflamed appendix, gallbladder or a section of the intestine.
During an endoscopy the endoscope will be carefully inserted into the area of the body requiring examination. These areas include the throat, anus and urethra. The endoscope will capture footage from inside the body and feed this back to the visual display your Consultant is monitoring and can analyse. The procedure will usually take less than an hour and is performed on an outpatient basis meaning you can return home on the day of the procedure. An endoscopy is is not usually painful and people tend to only experience mild discomfort.