Endoscopy is the use of an endoscope to view the inside of a person’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract. An endoscope, a slender, flexible tube attached to a camera and a light, gets inserted into your digestive tract, giving your doctor a live view of your digestive tract displayed on a TV monitor screen to help evaluate and treat your GI condition. Endoscopy is a minimally invasive and typically very safe procedure. It can be easily done as an outpatient procedure, i.e. you get to go home the same day.
The use of endoscopy to examine the upper part of the digestive tract is called an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD). It involves introducing the endoscope via the mouth and throat into the esophagus to examine the esophagus, stomach, and upper part of the small intestine. When the endoscope is introduced through the rectum into the large intestine to get a view of this part of the GI tract, the procedure is called colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy, depending on how far the endoscope goes into the colon.
What Are The Benefits of Endoscopy and Colonoscopy?
Endoscopy is one of the best diagnostic and therapeutic tools used by a gastroenterologist – a physician specialized in GI tract conditions. It’s generally used to investigate the cause of unexplained GI tract symptoms to help reach a diagnosis, but it can also be used to treat conditions affecting the GI tract.
Gastroenterologists use endoscopy for the diagnosis of inflammation, infections, ulcers, tumors, polyps of the digestive tract, and to detect areas of internal bleeding. They also use it to obtain samples of the intestinal lining (biopsy) for the diagnosis of some diseases such as celiac disease and cancer.
As a therapeutic tool, it can be used to open areas of obstruction or stricture (dilation). Banding, ablation, and cautery can be done to control or prevent gastrointestinal bleeding using an endoscope. During a colonoscopy, colonic polyps can be removed. It is an established way to prevent colon cancer in those who have precancerous colonic polyps.
When performed by physicians who have completed gastrointestinal training, endoscopy is very safe and has a very low risk of complications.
What Are the Possible Complications of Endoscopy and Colonoscopy?
Endoscopy is generally a low-risk procedure; however, there are a few possible complications, which include:
- The risk for infection of very low. It increases when your endoscopy is a part of additional procedures. Most infections are minor and get treated with antibiotics.
- This might happen whenever tissue is removed or damaged; the bleeding is usually mild and resolves on its own. In some circumstances, the doctor may need to do another endoscopy to stop the bleeding.
- Tear or perforation (a hole in the wall of the intestine). Although the likelihood of this occurring is very low, it may necessitate hospitalization or perhaps surgery to correct.
- Allergic reaction to sedation medications.
Who Might Need an Endoscopy or Colonoscopy?
Your doctor may recommend endoscopy if you have any of the following:
- Upper GI tract bleeding or bleeding from your rectum
- Difficulty swallowing, ulcers, or gastritis
- Persistent or unexplained abdominal pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Growths or polyps in the colon
- Bowel habits changes (such as persistent diarrhea or constipation)
Expert Gastrointestinal Care in California
If you have been experiencing any gastrointestinal problems, you deserve the very best care from the hands of the best gastrointestinal team of physicians in California. At InSite Digestive Health Care, our network of experienced physicians offer state-of-the-art medical care for common, chronic, and complex GI and liver conditions.
InSite Digestive Health Care physicians are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the gastrointestinal system, including those of the esophagus, stomach, colon, liver, small intestine, gallbladder, pancreas, and biliary tract. Some of the services we provide include colonoscopies, upper endoscopies, and esophageal testing. A full list of our services can be found on our services page.
The friendly staff at inSite Digestive Health Care welcomes your call and looks forward to serving you. If you have any questions about our gastroenterology services, please call the inSite location nearest you. You can schedule an appointment by calling the inSite provider of your choice or by using our secure online appointment request form.
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