What Is a Medical Endoscopy?

Article Details
  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article

A medical endoscopy is a procedure used to view the inside of the upper part of a patient's digestive system. To accomplish this, a doctor extends a tiny camera on a long, thin tube into the patient's digestive system. The purpose of this procedure is to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions that affect the upper part of the digestive system. A doctor who is referred to as a gastroenterologist, which is a digestive system specialist, usually performs medical endoscopy procedures in a medical office or hospital. In some cases, however, these procedures are performed in outpatient centers as well.

A doctor performs a medical endoscopy in order to diagnose and treat conditions that affect a patient's stomach, the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach, and the small intestine. They are all part of the upper digestive system. Often, diagnosing and treating conditions that affect this part of the body is easier when a doctor can see inside the body. A medical endoscopy allows doctors to do this.


When a doctor performs a medical endoscopy, he passes a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera attached to it into the patient's mouth. The patient usually lies on his back or side for the procedure and is often awake the entire time. The endoscopy doesn't usually cause a patient pain, but doctors often numb the throat to prevent discomfort. In many cases, a doctor also gives his patient a sedative to help keep him relaxed and calm.

Though patients do not usually feel pain when they have a medical endoscopy, they may feel pressure when the tube is threaded into the throat. A doctor may ask a patient to swallow to help aid the insertion of the tube, and sometimes it is necessary to insert a mouth guard to keep the patient's mouth open. The patient is unable to speak during a medical endoscopy but can typically make sounds if he needs to indicate that he is in some sort of distress. He can usually breathe normally as well.

A medical endoscopy usually only takes about 20 to 30 minutes to complete. Afterward, a person may spent a short period of time resting and allowing the sedative to wear off before he can return home. Some people have symptoms such as a sore throat, digestive cramping, or gas following this medical procedure. These symptoms do not usually last long, however.



Discuss this Article

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?