What is endoscopy?

​Endoscopy (literally gastrointestinal endoscopy) is a procedure to visualize the internal lining of the digestive tract using a flexible tube (fiber optic cable) which has a light and camera at the tip. It is called gastroscopy if the stomach is to be examined, and colonoscopy if the large intestine is to be examined. However, the term “endoscopy” is referred to as gastroscopy in society.

For whom endoscopy is ordered?

When gastric and esophageal complaint develop, gastroscopy should be performed. These complaints can be summarized as

  • heartburn (acid reflux)
  • bitter taste in the mouth
  • indigestion
  • persistent vomiting and diarrhea
  • swallowing difficulty (dysphagia)
  • gastric bleeding
  • iron deficiency anemia.

In the presence of complaints suggestive of colon diseases, colonoscopy should be performed.

These complaints can be summarized as

  • Bleeding (including obscure bleeding)
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Prolonged diarrhea
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • A family history of intestinal cancer.

What is obtained with endoscopy?

It is the only examination technique that allows direct visualization of the internal lining of the digestive tract. Therefore, it is a valuable procedure without any alternative in the diagnosis of various diseases. It also allows taking a sample to examine under a microscope in cases where a visual diagnosis is difficult. Since there is no nerve tissue on the inner wall of the stomach and colon, the procedure of taking a sample is entirely a painless procedure.Endoscopy is not only a diagnostic tool but also a therapeutic tool.

  • Gastric bleedings can be stopped using the endoscopic method.
  • Small polyps can be removed endoscopically.
  • Balloon or stent expansion can be performed in the areas of stenosis.
  • Very early stage tumors can be removed endoscopically.
  • Accidentally ingested objects can be removed endoscopically.
  • A feeding tube can be inserted into the stomach, when necessary.
  • It can be used as a guide during surgeries in the operating room. Hemorrhoids can be treated with a band.
  • Esophageal varices can be treated with a band.

How long does endoscopy procedure take? Is it a painful procedure?

Endoscopy procedure takes 15-30 minutes. Gastroscopy is painless, but the patient may feel nausea during the procedure. In a colonoscopy, there may be a pain due to entering the large intestine. The patient does not feel any discomfort when performed under anesthesia. Depending on the patient’s perfect cooperation, the procedure takes shorter.

What are the risks of endoscopy procedure?

Endoscopy procedures are very low risk when performed by experienced hands. The risk of intestinal perforation or bleeding is 0.2% (two per thousand). When an interventional procedure is performed (such as polyp removal, balloon dilatation), this risk slightly increases. Apart from these, there are also risks associated with anesthesia procedure.
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