What is Endoscopy used for?

By  , Expert Content
Jul 06, 2011

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Endoscopy is a medical procedure which is done to confirm a diagnosis if non-invasive tests such as MRI, X-ray, or CT scan are considered inappropriate. Some conditions and illnesses which are often investigated or diagnosed with an endoscopy include:


  • Breathing disorders.
  • Chronic diarrhoea.
  • Incontinence.
  • Internal bleeding.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Stomach ulcers.
  • Urinary tract infections.
  • Some types of cancer (such as bladder cancer).

An endoscope is a flexible or rigid tube which has a light source attached to it. The light is delivered via an optical fiber system and it helps the doctor to see and examine inside the body. It may have a channel through which medical instruments or manipulators may be inserted.

Some of the specialised endoscopy currently done include:


  • Arthroscopy – Arthroscope is inserted through cut in skin to allow examination of the joints.
  • Amnioscopy – The endoscope (amnioscope) is inserted in the uterus to examine amniotic cavity and foetus.
  • Bronchoscopy— This procedure is performed using a special endoscope called bronchoscope, and its purpose is to examine air passages and the lungs. The instrument is inserted in the trachea (the main airway) and then in the small airways.
  • Colonoscopy – Done using colonoscope to examine the colon (large bowel).
  • Colposcopy— The endoscope is inserted through vagina to examine cervix and the tissues of the vagina and vulva.
  • Cystoscopy – Done using cystoscope. The endoscope is inserted through urethra to allow examination of the urinary bladder.
  • EGD (Oesophageal Gastroduodenoscopy): It is also known as panendoscopy and is done to examine the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum.
  • ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography): This specialised endoscope is used to examine the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, and pancreas.
  • Laparoscopy: The laparoscope is inserted in the abdomen through a small incision and is used to examine the abdominal cavity.
  • Laryngoscopy: Laryngoscope is used to examine the back of the throat, including the voice box (larynx) and vocal cords.
  • Proctoscopy - Done using a specialised endoscope known as proctoscope. The endoscope is inserted through rectum to examine the rectum and the end of the colon.
  • Thoracoscopy:  Done to examine the lungs or other structures in the chest cavity.

An endoscopy can help to diagnose the cause of your complication, find out the severity of complication the condition may have caused, and then plan treatment accordingly. During endoscopy, the doctor may take a sample of tissue for testing (biopsy) or perform certain procedure to treat the pathology.

Biopsy: Endoscopies are commonly used for the diagnosis of cancer and many other conditions. Advances in endoscopy have made it possible to take tissue sample for examination (biopsy) from intestines, lungs or other internal organs without the need for major surgery.

Surgery: Many surgeries can be performed through endoscope, such as the removal of the gallbladder, tying and sealing the fallopian tubes, and taking out small tumours and foreign objects from the lungs or digestive system.


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