What’s an endoscopy?

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Endoscopy is a minimally invasive medical procedure where a flexible tube with a camera is inserted through a natural opening or small incision to examine internal organs. It is used to investigate symptoms such as bleeding, pain, or changes in bowel habits, and can also be used for procedures during pregnancy and plastic surgery. An upper endoscopy, also known as an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), can identify the cause of symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, nausea, vomiting, or reflux. The patient is given a numbing agent and may also receive pain relievers and sedatives. Complications are rare.

Endoscopy is a minimally invasive diagnostic medical procedure in which a flexible tube is used to examine the inside of the body. The lighted flexible tool, an endoscope, contains a camera with which a doctor can inspect internal organs. Your doctor may also insert tools into the endoscope to take tissue samples for further testing or to treat internal bleeding.

In most cases, the healthcare provider inserts the tube through a natural opening in the body, such as the mouth or anus. In other situations, an endoscope is inserted through a small incision. The procedure is brief, usually lasting 30 minutes or less, and allows your doctor to see areas of inflammation or bleeding that don’t show up clearly on X-rays.

Reasons for performing an endoscopy include symptoms such as bleeding, pain, or a change in bowel habits. One can also be performed to examine the colon for polyps. It is most commonly used to examine areas of the gastrointestinal tract, including the esophagus, stomach and areas of the intestines.

It is also possible to examine the respiratory and urinary tracts, the abdomen and chest, the joints and the reproductive system through forms of endoscopy. Each particular procedure has a specific name ending in –oscopy. It is also used for various procedures during pregnancy and some plastic surgeries as well.

An upper endoscopy is also called an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD). This procedure can identify the cause of symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, nausea, vomiting or reflux. Other conditions that might be investigated this way are indigestion and abdominal or chest pain.

During the procedure, the patient receives a numbing agent to prevent vomiting when the endoscope is inserted down the throat. Often, pain relievers and sedatives are also given to patients. Because the endoscope also pushes air into the stomach, it allows the doctor to see the folds of tissue inside the stomach and, therefore, to do a more careful examination.
Before an upper endoscopy, the patient should refrain from eating or drinking for a minimum of six hours so that the stomach is empty. If a patient was given a sedative before the procedure, you will need to stay at the medical facility until the effects wear off. The patient will also need someone to drive them home. Complications are rare, but may include bleeding or puncturing an area under inspection.

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