What is an endoscopy?

An endoscopy is a minimally invasive non-surgical procedure. Unlike a capsule endoscopy, a traditional endoscopy uses an endoscope to observe a patient’s internal organ or tissue. An endoscope is a long, thin tube with a light and camera at one end, usually inserted into the mouth, anus, nostrils, or small incisions.

The procedure typically involves local anaesthesia and moderate to deep sedation to ease discomfort when the endoscope is inserted into the body.

What is an endoscopy used for?

Your doctor may recommend an endoscopy for the following reasons:

  • To check the causes of symptoms such as ulcers, bleeding, breathing difficulty, or abdominal pain.
  • To carry out a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis of a potential disease.
  • In some cases, an endoscopy can help to treat an illness directly, such as removing a gallstone from the bile duct or polyp.

What are the types of endoscopy?

There are different types of endoscopic procedures to diagnose various conditions. Some common procedures include:

TypeArea examinedWhere the scope is inserted
ArthroscopyJointA small incision near the examined joint
BronchoscopyLungsNose or mouth
EnteroscopySmall intestineMouth or anus
LaparoscopyAbdominal or pelvic areaA small incision near the examined area
SigmoidoscopyRectum and the lower part of the large intestineAnus
Upper gastrointestinal endoscopyOesophagus and upper intestinal tractMouth

Source: healthline.com

What can I expect during an endoscopy?

You should not eat or drink the night before your endoscopy. Your doctor may advise you to stop the use of blood-thinning medications that will increase the risk of bleeding during an endoscopy. For certain procedures such as colonoscopy, the doctor may also recommend laxatives to clear your bowels before the procedure.

To prepare for tube insertion, the doctor will apply local anaesthesia to numb the examined area. A sedative may also be given to relax your body. During the procedure, you might experience slight discomfort as the endoscope passes through the examined area.

Depending on the situation, an endoscopy typically takes about 15 to 30 minutes.

After the procedure, you will be observed for some time while your sedative wears off. You might experience mild symptoms such as soreness or cramps after an endoscopy, which typically resolves quickly.

What are the risks of an endoscopy?

Although an endoscopy is a relatively safe procedure, there might be certain risks of bleeding, infection, or other complications such as:

  • Perforation
  • Chest pain
  • Fever
  • Persistent pain at the endoscopic area

If you experience the above symptoms, please consult your doctor immediately.

Alternatives to endoscopy

The most common alternative to an endoscopy is a barium swallow test. It is a form of imaging test that uses barium and X-ray to scan images of your upper gastrointestinal tract. However, this procedure does not allow for biopsy and an endoscopy will still be required if abnormalities are detected.

Another alternative to an endoscopy is a CT scan, which utilises X-rays to create cross-sectional images of the body.  A CT scan is non-invasive and can detect organs and tissues within the body, while an endoscopy causes discomfort and can only view the surface of the examined area.

Make An Appointment

Make an appointment online to consult our specialist in gastroenterology at Raffles Internal Medicine Centre. To make an appointment, select "Specialist Appointment". Under Specialist Appointment Details, select "Gastroenterology", and include Capsule Endoscopy in the ​Remarks.

Make an enquiry. We will get back to you within 2 working days. You can reach us at 6311 1200.

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