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A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia [Internet]. Atlanta (GA): A.D.A.M.; 2013.

A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia.

Endoscopy

Last reviewed: May 2, 2013.

Endoscopy is a way of looking inside the body using a flexible tube that has a small camera on the end of it. This instrument is called an endoscope.

Small instruments can be inserted through an endoscope and used to:

  • Look more closely at an area inside the body
  • Take samples of abnormal tissues
  • Treat certain diseases
  • Remove tumors
  • Stop bleeding
  • Remove foreign bodies (such as food stuck in the esophagus -- the tube that connects your throat to your stomach)

How the Test is Performed

An endoscope is passed through a natural body opening or small cut. There are many types of endoscopes. Each one is named according to the organs or areas they are used to examine.

Endoscopy is often used to examine and treat parts of the digestive tract.

How to Prepare for the Test

The preparation for the test varies greatly depending on the test. For example, there is no preparation needed for anoscopy whereas a special diet and laxatives are needed to prepare for a colonoscopy. Check with your doctor about what preparation is required for your test.

How the Test will Feel

All of these tests cause discomfort or pain. Some of them are done after sedatives and pain medications are given. Check with your doctor about what to expect.

Normal Results

The endoscopy should show normal appearance and function of the area being examined.

References

  1. Kraft M. Approach to the patient with respiratory disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 83.
  2. Pasricha PJ. Gastrointestinal endoscopy. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 136.

Review Date: 5/2/2013.

Reviewed by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

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What works?

  • Endoscopy or surgery for patients with chronic pancreatitis and dilated pancreatic ductEndoscopy or surgery for patients with chronic pancreatitis and dilated pancreatic duct
    Endoscopy and surgery are the treatments of choice in patients with chronic pancreatitis and a dilated pancreatic duct. In this review we compared these two intervention modalities. We found that surgery achieved pain relief in a higher proportion of patients than with endoscopy. Surgery also had other advantages like improved quality of life and reduced risk of developing exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. The studies seemingly showed no difference in complications after intervention between endoscopy and surgery, but lacked the power to establish this with sufficient reliability. We also compared surgery to conservative treatment. Results of one trial suggested that surgery early in the disease achieved better pain relief and preservation of pancreatic function. The trial, however, was small, which precluded drawing reliable conclusions.
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Figures

  • Colonoscopy.

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