Understanding Endoscopy Medical Procedure
Endoscopy is a type of non-surgical medical procedure to study the insides of a person’s digestive tract. The endoscope is a long, flexible tube that is built with a special light and camera, allowing the doctor to see what is inside without having to cut the patient open.
There are two main types of endoscopy: upper and lower endoscopy. Upper endoscopy is when the endoscope is passed through the mouth and esophagus. Lower endoscopy is passed through the rectum and the large intestine. This may also be referred to as a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy.
Why is an Endoscopy Required?
An endoscopy is taken when the doctor needs a physical visual of the organ in question. There may be inflammations or conditions that cannot be studied via CT or MRI scans and the doctor will need to visually examine the insides. An endoscopy will enable this without the need of an incision.
Doctors often require an endoscopy to study:
Some endoscopes are built with forceps and scissors. These will allow the doctor to take a sample tissue for further study in the lab. This is done when there are signs of tumors or cancer cells growing inside.
Preparing for an Endoscopy
First of all, patients often have to avoid any food and drinks for twelve hours leading up to the procedure. Laxatives or an enema may be given the day prior to the operation to completely clean out the digestive tract. This is common in lower endoscopy.
Risks of Endoscopy
Unlike the majority of medical procedures, an endoscopy does not come with all sorts of dangerous health risks. There are still risks of mild bleeding and infection, as well as a rare occurrence of the following:
After an Endoscopy
Most endoscopies are outpatient procedures, meaning the patient will be able to go home and go about their business on the same day. However, some forms of endoscopies such as a colonoscopy may cause some discomfort and the patient will require some time before they can walk naturally and without pain.
Incisions will be sealed with stitches and these may take time to heal. It is likely that the doctor will instruct how the bandages and the stitches are to be monitored and maintained.
For patients suspected of cancerous growth the doctor will also perform a biopsy during the endoscopy. Results of the biopsy may take some time to be studied and evaluated.
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