Endoscopy Procedures

Endoscopy refers to viewing the digestive tract (such as esophagus, stomach, small intestine, rectum or colon) with a video camera. Endoscopic procedures provide important information that helps physicians diagnose and treat a variety of conditions and illnesses, including ulcers, intestinal bleeding, tumors and polyps.

The two most common types of endoscopic procedures are:

  • Upper GI Endoscopy
  • Colonoscopy

Upper GI endoscopy

Upper GI endoscopy helps physicians evaluate symptoms of persistent upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or difficulty swallowing. It can also be used to diagnose gastrointestinal reflux and other chronic conditions; detect inflammation, ulcers and tumors of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum; and find the cause of bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract.

During an upper GI endoscopy, the flexible, lighted endoscope is inserted into the mouth, down the esophagus and into the stomach and/or duodenum. Patients may receive medication beforehand to keep the throat more comfortable as the instrument is gently positioned into place. The procedure does not interfere with breathing and there should not be any associated pain.

During the procedure, the physician will look closely for any problems that require evaluation, diagnosis or treatment. Sometimes, a sample of tissue is taken, called a biopsy, which will later be examined under a microscope. The entire procedure is relatively quick, usually taking about 10-15 minutes to perform.

Upper endoscopy helps physicians evaluate symptoms of persistent upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or difficulty swallowing. It can also be used to diagnose gastrointestinal reflux and other chronic conditions; detect inflammation, ulcers and tumors of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum; and find the cause of bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract.

Colonoscopy

To learn more about colon cancer and the colonoscopy procedure from Hawthorn Medical’s Gastroenterologists, click to watch video.

A colonoscopy is an exam of the large intestine using a colonoscope, a flexible tube-like device outfitted with a tiny video camera, to view the colon. This exam is an important tool in the prevention and early detection of colon cancer, as well as the diagnosis of other colon diseases. The colonoscope allows a physician to obtain a small tissue sample or remove polyps (abnormal growths in the lining of the colon, which can become cancerous).

Colon cancer screening is important because the early stages of the disease, when it’s most curable, do not cause symptoms. The American Cancer Society recommends all men and women age 50 and older have a screening colonoscopy to check for signs of colon cancer, even if no symptoms are present. Individuals with increased risk need to be screened earlier.

To make it easier to see the large intestine, it is important that the colon be completely empty of waste products. Patients receive instruction on how to do this. It involves drinking a solution or taking laxatives and enemas. Usually the patient drinks only clear liquids and eats no food the day before the exam.

The procedure, performed in a modern endoscopy room, may take 15-30 minutes. Patients usually receive medication through a small catheter placed in a vein to make them relaxed and comfortable during the procedure. After a short recovery, patients receive their exam results from their physician.


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