Overview

Endoscopy is a minimally invasive diagnostic medical procedure that is used to assess the interior surfaces of an organ by inserting a tube into the body. The instrument may have a rigid or flexible tube and not only provide an image for visual inspection and photography, but also enable taking biopsies and retrieval of foreign objects. Endoscopy is the vehicle for minimally invasive surgery, and patients may receive conscious sedation so they do not have to be consciously aware of the discomfort.

Many endoscopic procedures are considered to be relatively painless and, at worst, associated with moderate discomfort; for example, in esophagogastroduodenoscopy, most patients tolerate the procedure with only topical anaesthesia of the oropharynx using lignocaine spray.

Components
An endoscope can consist of

  • a rigid or flexible tube
  • a light delivery system to illuminate the organ or object under inspection. The light source is normally outside the body and the light is typically directed via an optical fiber system
  • a lens system transmitting the image to the viewer from the fiberscope
  • an additional channel to allow entry of medical instruments or manipulators

Uses
Endoscopy can involve

  • The gastrointestinal tract (GI tract):
    • esophagus, stomach and duodenum (esophagogastroduodenoscopy)
    • small intestine
    • colon (colonoscopy,proctosigmoidoscopy)
    • Bile Duct
  • endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), duodenoscope-assisted cholangiopancreatoscopy, intraoperative cholangioscopy
  • The respiratory tract
    • The nose (rhinoscopy)
    • The lower respiratory tract (bronchoscopy)
  • The urinary tract (cystoscopy)
  • The female reproductive system
    • The cervix (colposcopy)
    • The uterus (hysteroscopy)
    • The Fallopian tubes (Falloscopy)
  • Normally closed body cavities (through a small incision):
    • The abdominal or pelvic cavity (laparoscopy)
    • The interior of a joint (arthroscopy)
    • Organs of the chest (thoracoscopy and mediastinoscopy)