Endoscopy, which literally means seeing inside, is a medical procedure that utilizes a small telescope—known as the endoscope—to peek inside internal organs not normally reached by other imaging devices. Endoscopy is often used in cases when the abnormalities inside the body are too hard to be reached by X-Ray or ultrasound. It is a procedure used often to detect the gravity and extend of complications inside the body, and is utilized in a number of different cases. When a doctor or specialist needs more information about a condition present in your body, he may recommend an endoscopy. Some common reasons to have an endoscopy are:
- Ulcer. Ulcers often occur in the lining of the stomach, so normal imaging systems can’t detect it. Ulcers can be detected through endoscopy by sliding a tube down your esophagus all the way to your stomach. Doctors are given the full view of the ulcer and a deeper insight into the extent of the condition.
- Digestive system. Tumors lining in the large intestines or abnormalities in the digestive tract can be seen using an endoscope.
- Respiratory tract. The nose is a hard to reach area where normal viewing mechanisms can find it difficult to enter. With an endoscope’s thin and flexible tube, infections in the nasal and upper respiratory area can now be detected.
- Urinary tract. Urinary tract infection is a very common disease, but is not often diagnosed. Doctors can produce an incision on the skin near the urinary tract and insert the endoscope to get a full view of the urinal passageway. This is also helpful for people exhibiting signs of bladder cancer.
- Female reproductive system. Gynecologists may also use the endoscope to probe a woman’s cervix, uterus or fallopian tube during a check-up. Women who may have contracted sexually-transmitted disease or cervical cancer may also need an endoscopy.
- Normally closed body cavities. Endoscopy may also be needed for people whose conditions exist in body cavities not normally reachable by imaging devices or are usually closed. This can include the abdominal or pelvic cavity, the interior of any joint, or the organs of the chest.
- During pregnancy. High-risk pregnancies may also need endoscopy because they are harder to analyze through normal means such as ultrasound. In some cases, endoscopy is also used to examine the condition of the fetus inside the womb of the mother.
- Hand surgery. In some cases, such as when a person experiences carpal tunnel syndrome or tightening/tangling of the nerves in the wrist area, an endoscopy may be required to free up the nerves and eliminate the syndrome.
As technology improves day to day, more and more sophisticated equipment are being used to improve the practice of medicine. Endoscopy is a helpful procedure and has saved a lot of people’s lives in the recent years it has been used in hospitals. Your doctor will be the one to decide if you need to undergo the procedure, and don’t worry so much because he will orient you about the way it is done, step-by-step. Who knows? It may just save your life.