Endoscopy: What You Need to Know

Endoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure in which small, thin, flexible tubes, along with cameras, are used by doctors to detect and examine the inside of the body, especially the digestive system, and take tissue samples for biopsies. It is an excellent diagnostic tool, used to detect everything from cancer to ulcers to gallstones to bleeding. Here’s what you need to know about endoscopy:

Endoscopy Preparation

Prior to the procedure, your doctor will provide instructions about what preparations you need to make for the procedure. Generally, you should not eat or drink for several hours before the procedure. Additionally, you may also be asked to stop taking certain medications or supplements before your procedure.

How an Endoscopy is Administered

The endoscopy is performed in a hospital with you lying down or semi-reclined on an exam table. Before the procedure, you may be given a sedative to help you relax, as well as a local anesthetic in the area to make you more comfortable. Your doctor then inserts the endoscope into the desired orifice, such as your mouth, nose, or anus. The doctor can then look for any problems in the digestive tract or any other area. Depending on the problem being looked for, the doctor may take biopsies or perform other tasks.

Types of Endoscopy

Endoscopy can be used for many different procedures, and there are several types of endoscopy procedures. These include :

  • Gastroscopy
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Colonoscopy
  • Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG)
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
  • Cystoscopy
  • Arthroscopy

Risks Associated With Endoscopy

Though endoscopy is generally safe, it can cause complications, particularly if complicated scans are performed, such as an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography or a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy. Complications of these endoscopies may include bleeding, infection, perforation, or a reaction to the sedative or anesthetic drugs.

When Is an Endoscopy Needed?

An endoscopy can be used to diagnose and treat a number of conditions, including bleeding, blockage, inflammation, or infection. Additionally, endoscopy can be used to get a better view of tumors and other abnormal growths. It can also be used to examine the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and other organs.


Endoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that can be used to diagnose and treat many different conditions and is an invaluable tool for doctors to examine the inside of the body. Though endoscopy is generally safe, it does come with some risks, so be sure to discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor prior to the procedure.