Endoscopy is used to view the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract. There are four types of endoscopy that are used to diagnose or monitor some digestive problems:
Upper GI Endoscopy
This procedure is done under anesthesia in the endoscopy suite. A flexible tube equipped with a camera will be inserted through the mouth to examine the upper GI tract -- the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (first part of small intestine). The physician may take small pieces of tissue (called biopsy) to examine under a microscope. This procedure is also used for removal of foreign objects, dilations of strictures (abnormal narrowing), and for management of bleeding in the GI tract.
Colonoscopy (Lower GI Endoscopy)
This procedure is similar to the upper GI endoscopy and is also done under anesthesia. The flexible tube with a camera is inserted through the anus to examine the large intestine (colon) and the end of the small intestine (terminal ileum). Biopsies may be collected to examine under a microscope. This procedure may also be used to remove polyps and to manage GI bleeding.
Capsule Endoscopy (Camera Endoscopy)
This allows examination of the small intestine using a small video capsule that is about the size of a large vitamin. The camera captures pictures as it travels naturally through the small intestine and transmits images to a small device outside the body. After the procedure is completed, the images can be downloaded and reviewed by the physician. The capsule passes out in stool.
In complex or repeated cases of pancreatitis or disorders of the bile ducts, a scope test called ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) is done to look for problems in the bile and pancreatic ducts. A flexible tube with a camera and light is passed through the mouth to the small intestine.
Diseases or Conditions
The following diseases or conditions may require one or more forms of endoscopy.