Endoscopy is a medical procedure where an endoscope or a thin tube is inserted into the body to visualize several organs for the presence of disease. The endoscope can be passed through the mouth, the nose, the vagina, or the rectum depending on the case. An endoscopy with biopsy often involves removing tissues from inside the body while doing this procedure. These tissue samples can be sent to the laboratory to be processed and examined under the microscope for any abnormality. Findings from an endoscopy with biopsy often help physicians diagnose, treat, and monitor their patients.
This type of procedure is usually considered minimally invasive because there is less tissue damage than most surgical operations. The patient is often advised not to eat anything for up to eight hours before the endoscopy is done. He is then sedated, or put to sleep, and the endoscope attached to a camera, light, and other devices is inserted in the body's opening. Organs inside the body can then be visualized in a television monitor. When a suspected abnormality is located, an endoscopy with biopsy is then done using a forcep, a device that can grab or cut tissues for sampling.
Endoscopy is commonly used for patients with digestive disorders like stomach ulcers, gastritis, celiac disease, and Barrett's esophagus. Stomach ulcers are sores that develop in the walls of the stomach. Gastritis is inflammation that occurs in the stomach. Celiac disease often results in problems with nutrient absorption in the intestines. A Barrett's esophagus is a condition where the cells lining some sections of the esophagus undergo some alteration due to frequent reflux of acid coming from the stomach.
Often referred to as esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), this procedure is done by passing the endoscope in the mouth of the patient, down to his esophagus, stomach and the first part of his intestines. The gastroenterologist, an expert in gastrointestinal tract disorders, then examines the area, taking note of their present condition as well as identifying problems which can be fixed. For instance, enlarging a narrowed section or removing abnormal growths. Aside from doing an endoscopy with biopsy, the doctor can also stop some forms of bleeding if any is found. Most endoscopy with biopsy procedures usually last for less than an hour and patients may go home after a few hours when the sedative wears off.