Endoscopy allows a visual examination of internal organs and body parts without invasive exploratory surgery.
Special video cameras can be attached to the endoscopes which allow viewing of the exam on a television screen, as well as recording the exam on video.
Types of endoscopy include:
Bronchoscopy: an exam of the lower airways.
Colonoscopy: an exam of the cecum, large bowel and rectum.
Endoscopy: an exam of the oesophagus, stomach and upper intestines.
Arthroscopy: an exam of soft tissue structures and joint cartilage, which is not visible on radiographs. Decreased damage to the joint and shortened recovery times are two advantages of arthroscopy over arthrotomy (surgical exam of the joint).
Cystoscopy: an exam of the vagina, urethral opening, urethra, bladder, and ureteral openings.
Laparoscopy: an exam of the abdominal cavity performed through a small incision in the wall of the abdomen or through the navel.
Rhinoscopy: an exam of the nasal cavity and nasopharynx.
Candidates for endoscopy of the upper gastrointestinal tract include those with a stricture (abnormal narrowing) or foreign body in the esophagus.
The advantage of endoscopy over other methods of evaluating the digestive system is that it is non-surgical. The technique allows for visualization of the lining of the digestive system and for taking samples of the lining of these organs, including biopsies. Many foreign bodies in the esophagus and stomach may be removed via endoscopy.
In cases where the lower intestinal tract is to be examined, the patient should be fasted for 24-48 hours. Enemas are then used to clean the intestines of remaining faecal matter. Colonoscopy is useful to diagnose many large bowel diseases or generalized intestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease.
Multiple biopsies of the gastrointestinal system are taken during scoping. Tissue may appear grossly normal, but show pathology (signs of disease) when examined histologically.
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