An endoscopy is a procedure where a medical professional looks inside of the body using an endoscope, a tube-like instrument with a tiny camera and light. There might be a channel for surgical instruments as well. There are several kinds of endoscopies.
A colonoscopy is a form of endoscopy where the doctor examines the inside of the colon. This is typically done to check for signs of cancer of the bowel. If the doctor finds an abnormal growth like a polyp, they can snip it out during the endoscopy itself and perform a biopsy to see whether or not it’s malignant. This procedure is performed under conscious sedation. The patient is given drugs to relax them, but is still conscious.
This is also called an upper endoscopy, or EGD. This helps the physician see into the esophagus and down into the stomach and the duodenum, which is the first part of the small intestine.
The patient is also under sedation during this procedure and the back of their throat is given an anesthesia to stop the normal gag reflex. The endoscopy is put in the mouth and guided down the throat while the patient swallows. Then, it’s eased down the esophagus and into the stomach and the duodenum. The doctor can then see any abnormalities in the upper GI track. The procedure takes about twenty minutes.
This is a procedure where the endoscopy is used to check the upper respiratory tract, including the nose and the larynx. The tube is inserted into one nostril. The patient isn’t sedated for this endoscopy, but their nose is sprayed with a decongestant and something to numb it. This type of endoscopy usually takes only a few minutes.
This procedure is used to examine the lower respiratory tract, or the lungs. Once again, the physician will look for abnormalities like bleeding, foreign bodies or tumors and can perform a biopsy at the same time as the endoscopy. The patient is also sedated during this procedure and local anesthesia is given to the upper part of the respiratory track.