Upper endoscopy (also known as gastroscopy, EGD, or esophagogastroduodenoscopy) is a procedure that enables your surgeon to examine the lining of the esophagus (swallowing tube), stomach and duodenum (first portion of the small intestine) without surgery. These structures are visualized by using a long bendable scope, or lighted camera tube about the thickness of your little finger. The scope is placed through your mouth and into the stomach and duodenum while you are under monitored anesthesia care (MAC).
Upper endoscopy is performed to evaluate symptoms of persistent upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, reflux, regurgitation, heartburn, and before certain surgical procedures. It is an excellent method for finding the cause of bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract. It can be used to evaluate the esophagus or stomach before and after major surgery. It is more accurate than x-rays for detecting inflammation, polyps, ulcers or tumors of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum.
A variety of instruments can be passed through the endoscope that allows the surgeon to treat many abnormalities with little or no discomfort. Your surgeon can stretch narrowed areas, remove polyps, remove swallowed objects, place stents or treat upper gastrointestinal bleeding.
Gastroscopy and biopsies are generally safe when performed by surgeons who have received special training and are experienced in endoscopic procedures. Complications are rare, however, they can occur. They include bleeding from the site of a biopsy or polypectomy and a tear (perforation) through the lining of the intestinal wall.
Colonoscopy is a procedure that enables your surgeon to examine the lining of the rectum and colon. A soft, long bendable scope or lighted camera tube about the thickness of the index finger is gently inserted into the anus and advanced into the rectum and the colon.
A colonoscopy is usually done as part of a routine screening for cancer in patients with known polyps or previous polyp removal, before or after some surgeries, to evaluate a change in bowel habits or bleeding or to evaluate changes in the lining of the colon known as inflammatory disorders.
If your surgeon sees an area that needs more detailed evaluation, a biopsy may be obtained and submitted to a laboratory for analysis. Placing a special instrument through the Colonoscope to sample the lining of the colon does this. Polyps are generally removed. The majority of polyps are benign (non-cancerous), but your surgeon cannot always tell by the appearance alone. They can be removed by burning (fulgurating) or by a wire loop (snare). It may take your surgeon more than one sitting to do this if there are numerous polyps or they are very large. Sites of bleeding can be identified and controlled by injecting certain medications or coagulating (burning) the bleeding vessels. Biopsies do not imply cancer, however, removal of a colonic polyp is an important means of preventing colorectal cancer.
Colonoscopy and Biopsies are safe when performed by surgeons who have had special training and are experienced in these endoscopic procedures. Complications are rare. However, they can occur. They include bleeding from the site of a biopsy or polypectomy and a tear (perforation) through the lining of the bowel wall. Should this occur, it may be necessary for your surgeon to perform abdominal surgery to repair the intestinal tear.
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