Endoscopy procedures give doctors a way to examine the inside of the body in a minimally invasive way. Many endoscopy procedures are performed on an outpatient basis. All are performed by board-certified specialists.
Endoscopy is a way of looking inside your body, usually in the digestive tract, using a flexible tube with a small camera on the end of it. This is called an endoscope. There are actually many different types of endoscopes – each designed to examine a specific organ or area. For example:
There are many different reasons to perform an endoscopy. For example, your doctor may order an endoscope if you have bleeding, pain, difficulty swallowing or a change in bowel habits. An endocoscopy can be used for screening or to remove polyps. A colonoscopy can also be done to screen for colon polyps and colon cancer.
An endoscope is passed through a natural body opening, such as your mouth or anus, or through a small cut in or near the area to be examined. Small instruments can be inserted through an endoscope and used to take samples of suspicious tissues.
An ultrasound probe can be added to a gastrointestinal endoscope. This is called an endoscopic ultrasound.
Ask your healthcare provider if you need to do anything to prepare for your endoscopy. You may be asked not to eat or drink before most types of endoscopy. Before an examination of the lower gastrointestinal tract, you may be asked to use enemas or laxatives to clear out the large intestine.
You may be given medicine to help you relax and possibly fall asleep. This is called sedation. With the right sedation, you should have little, if any, discomfort. Sedation is usually not given to people having an endoscopic ultrasound of the rectum. The endoscope will make you feel like you need to move the bowels (pass stool), but it should not cause any pain.