Endoscopy is a procedure to view, detect, and diagnose the internal tissues and organs using an instrument called an endoscope. An endoscope is a long, thin, flexible tube with a light and camera at one end. The camera helps your doctor see the inside of your body through a monitor. Endoscopy may also be used to obtain images of internal organs as well as for minor surgery.
An endoscopy procedure, apart from being performed with a small tube-shaped endoscope, is also often performed using a pill or capsule with a tiny wireless camera within. Capsule endoscopy is used to examine the central part of your internal organs — the small intestine. This capsule will take pictures as it passes through the small intestine.
The pictures will then be sent to a device that is attached to your waist for approximately eight hours. After that, you may return the instrument and wait for the results of the analysis based on the pictures taken from the capsule.
Who Needs Endoscopy?
Endoscopy may be required when you deal with numerous health complaints, such as problems with your gastrointestinal tract — which cause vomiting blood, diarrhea, extreme abdominal pain, heartburn, and drastic weight loss. You may also need endoscopy if you have problems with the reproductive system, such as repeated miscarriages or spotting (bleeding that happens outside of your regular periods)
In addition to making a diagnosis based on your complaints, endoscopy may also be performed for surgery — starting from taking tissue samples, removing gallstones, large intestine, myoma in the reproductive tract, to treating joint pain.
How Endoscopy Works
Endoscopy may be performed in several parts of your body, depending on your complaints. Endoscopy may help diagnose problems in your digestive system, respiratory system, urinary tract, female reproductive tract, and see-through small incisions.
Your doctor may perform a Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (GI Endoscopy) if you experience problems with your digestive tract system.
Prior to the procedure, you will be prepared to lie down on your left side, then your nurse will spray an anesthetic solution down your throat. Then, you will be given dental braces to keep your mouth open during the procedure — this will help your doctor get a clearer vision. Your doctor will then begin to insert the endoscope to look at your throat, esophagus, stomach and the upper part of your intestine.
Types of Endoscopy
There are several names of endoscopy procedures based on the organs being examined;
- ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography) — to examine the ductal system of the pancreas.
- Colonoscopy — to check the colon and rectum organs.
- Arthroscopy — to examine joint pain
- Bronchoscopy — to check the respiratory system.
- Colposcopy — to examine the cervix, vagina and vulva.
- Cystoscopy — to observe the urinary tract.
- Proctoscopy — to view the inside of the anal cavity, rectum or sigmoid colon.
- Laparoscopy — to examine the abdomen or pelvis.
- Mediastinoscopy — to see the space between the chest cavity by taking a sample of lymph nodes.
- Gastroscopy — to examine your throat, esophagus, stomach and upper intestine.
- Thoracoscopy — to examine the areas outside the lungs. This is done to identify any problems or complaints with the lungs.
- Laryngoscopy — to get a clearer vision of the vocal cords in the larynx or see the back of the throat
Cost Estimation for Endoscopy
The cost estimation for an endoscopy procedure may vary — depending on the type of endoscopy performed and your choice of hospital.
For more details regarding the cost estimation for endoscopy procedure, contact Smarter Health.
Prior to the endoscopy procedure, you may receive an in-depth explanation from your doctor regarding the objectives of the endoscopy procedure as well as the potential risks and side effects after the procedure.
Endoscopy may only take an hour. You may return home shortly after the procedure is complete.
However, before the procedure, your doctor may provide instructions on what you should prepare. Usually, you will be asked to fast for 12 hours before the procedure. The preparation required may depend on the type of endoscopy. It is also important for you to provide complete information regarding your medical history
During endoscopy, you will remain conscious, but may be given a special anesthetic on the parts being examined.
In certain conditions, your doctor may also perform endoscopy while you remain unconscious ( you will be put under general anesthesia). Endoscopy may also be performed in conjunction with other procedures, such as an ultrasound scan.
An ultrasound scan is performed to look inside the organs of your body using high-frequency sound waves. Usually, this procedure is also done to view the pancreas — which may be difficult to examine using only an endoscope
Endoscopy is relatively a low-risk procedure. One hour after the procedure or after the effects of the anesthetic start to disappear, your doctor will check back on you. Even though it is not a high-risk procedure, you are advised to have someone drive you home. This is to avoid accidents caused by the anesthetic given earlier.
Furthermore, in certain endoscopy procedures , you may experience slight bruises in some areas, but they will disappear in a short time. Your recovery period may depend on your condition.
Side Effects of Endoscopy
Although endoscopy is a safe procedure, it still carries several possible side effects, such as:
- Mild cramping.
- Feeling bloated.
- Minor infections on the parts being examined.
- Temporary numbness in your throat due to the anesthetic given.
- Minor internal bleeding. This may be treated with cauterization
- Other complications.