The Many Endoscopy Types and When to Use Them

Published July 11, 2019 by

Endoscopy is a medical marvel which has saved many lives over the years. There are few risks, and it provides instant gratification by delivering  a medical diagnosis or a less invasive surgical procedure.

What Is It?

Endoscopy is a way for doctors to see inside our bodies without major exploratory surgery that was the standard process in the past. An endoscopic procedure involves the insertion of a long tube into an opening in our body like the mouth or rectum, or through a tiny incision in our skin. A mini camera allows your physician to see tissues and organs in real time on a screen in front of them, and surgical instruments can be included for certain procedures.

Doctor holding endoscope before gastroscopy.

In general, endoscopy is used to:

  • Investigate a wide variety of symptoms and causes of abdominal pain, chest pain, nausea and vomiting, weight loss, blood in stools, and diarrhea.
  • Confirm a particular diagnosis that may be suspected but not yet official.
  • Treat a medical problem. If treatment is the goal of your procedure, it is technically classified as a laparoscopy. Common treatments include hernia repair, gallbladder removal, and many more.

There is no pain during this process, as all patients are given mild sedation and/or anesthesia, and most  are performed on an outpatient basis.

Endoscopy Types

Capsule Endoscopy

One of the newer techniques of endoscopy is called a capsule endoscopy. During this examination, the patient swallows a camera located in a capsule no larger than a vitamin pill. As it moves through the digestive system, a device within the capsule will take thousands of pictures and transmit them to a nearby machine for review. It normally exits the body within 24 – 48 hours.

This procedure is useful to provide images of the small intestine, the mucosa in the small intestine, and to diagnose conditions like Crohn’s Disease.

Therapeutic Endoscopy

A therapeutic endoscopy is used for screening purposes, to repair the digestive tract, and to treat several common gastrointestinal conditions. Some frequent uses include:

  • To remove gallstones, bladder stones, and kidney stones
  • The repair of damage to joints (arthroscopy)
  • To repair a bleeding ulcer
  • Setting a stent in a blocked or narrowed area
  • To tie and seal the fallopian tubes
  • To remove small tumors from the lungs or digestive system
  • Removal of a fibroid from the uterus
  • As a screening method for cancer (colonoscopy)

Laparoscopic Surgery

This less invasive type of surgery is used to:

  • Remove the gallbladder or appendix
  • Remove a section of the intestine to treat Crohn’s’s Disease and diverticulitis when prior treatments have not worked
  • Repair hernias
  • Remove the uterus known (hysterectomy)
  • Remove organs or parts of organs affected by cancer

Some Other Specific Types of Endoscopy

Additionally, some common types include the following: a bronchoscopy to examine airways, hysteroscopy to examine inside the uterus, cystoscopy to check inside the bladder if there are problems with urinary incontinence or blood in the urine, and an endoscopic ultrasound for images of internal organs like the pancreas.

Thousands of endoscopic procedures are performed every year to safely help diagnose and treat patients for multiple medical conditions.

Consult with GI Solutions of Illinois about what to expect if you are going to undergo an endoscopic procedure.

As always, if you have any further questions, contact our office or request an appointment online!


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