An Endoscope is a device, used medically, which is a long flexible tube that has a light and camera (video) attached. It is used to examine the inside of the body, having this procedure is called having an endoscopy.
An endoscope can be used to diagnose conditions such as ulcers, urinary tract infections, internal bleeding, incontinence, and some breathing disorders.
Endoscopes can also be fitted with other surgical equipment and be used for other parts of the inner body and they have their own names. A Colonoscope examines the colon, while a hysteroscope examines the uterus. It can also send pulses of heat and be used to destroy small gallstones and tumors.
Surgery with an endoscope does not require anesthesia, and they generally will be inserted through the uretha, the throat, the anus and sometimes a small incision. The process is simple, lasting 15 -60 minutes only. Patients can get up and resume normal activities within the hour.
Before your surgery, you will be asked to not eat for a period of time prior. You may be given a laxative or antibiotics to ward of infection. If you are on blood thinning medication, your doctor my warn you to stop taking it a few days before your surgery – people on blood thinners are at a higher risk for excessive bleeding.
Complications from an endoscope are extremely rare (1%) but may include; an infection, a tear or piercing of the organ being treated, bleeding. Signs of an infection would be tenderness and swelling, a fever, redness, pain and fluid discharge. If you had surgery via this method and have any of these symptoms, contact your doctor right away.
Another type of endoscope is a type that is swallowed. A capsule, about the size of a vitamin tablet, has a camera attached and other technology. After being swallowed, it will move through the body’s digestive tract and it takes pictures along the way. You will be fitted with a small recorder to wear for the day which records what the capsule sees. You will wear the recorder for approximately 8 hours and then you will return to the hospital to have the recorder removed. The doctors can then download the images and information that the capsule recorded.
There are numerous types of endoscopies, examining everything you can imagine from your fetus, to your rectum and colon, to the inside of the nose, your joints and even your cervix and vagina to name just a few.
This is amazing technology, making diagnosis of some diseases conditions possible with the least discomfort. Being able to see inside the body means quicker diagnosis and treatment.