An endoscopy is a procedure that allows a doctor to view the digestive system from the inside as it is working. The procedure is non-invasive and involves guiding a small camera and light down into the digestive tract via a long flexible tube. Through this type of procedure, a doctor can not only view the interior workings of the digestive system, they can operate on the internal organs as well. Endoscopies provide doctors with accurate information that allows them to diagnose and treat several illnesses that affect the upper portion of the gastrointestinal tract. An endoscopy can be used to create an effective treatment as well as evaluate how well it is working.
An endoscopy can show signs of several different health problems. It can help the doctor identify signs of acid reflux, ulcers, and other abnormalities. The light and camera combination allows the doctor to view the tissues as they are. He can identify swelling, lesions, tumors, cysts, polyps, and many other signs of irritation that will allow him to make an accurate diagnosis. Once a diagnosis has been reached, the doctor can use the information he received to create a viable treatment plan to help control or eliminate the cause of the problem. Over time, another endoscopy can be performed to determine whether or not the current treatment plan is working. If not, it can provide information that will help the doctor devise a new one.
An endoscopic procedure normally does not produce any side effects. It is not invasive and does not require any incisions. The patient may, however, experience discomfort, pain, and minor swelling in the back of the mouth and down the back of the throat. The throat can be extremely sensitive and may be irritated by the flexible tube that is fed through it down into the stomach. While this irritation is only temporary, it can be extremely uncomfortable. If the stomach is irritated or there are other digestive issues, the use of the endoscope may cause additional irritation in those areas as well.