From ArticleWorld

Endoscopy is a medical procedure that involves looking into a part of the body that is not easily accessible using a lighted tube-like instrument. The instrument can be rigid or flexible and can be connected to a camera or to video equipment. The endoscopist is the person that controls the movements of the endoscope.


Endoscopes vary in size and function. They generally have in common a light source outside of the body, a fiberoptic bundle that transmits the light and a lens that is used like the lens of a camera to gather the image that is seen on an eyepiece and/or on a television screen. The endoscopes can be rigid, semi-flexible or flexible depending upon their use. Other instrumentation can be used in some endoscopes to biopsy or move tissue.


Upper GI endoscopy involves visualizing the esophagus, the stomach and the duodenum. Biopsies are generally taken of suspicious areas and pictures are generated for the medical record. Most upper GI endoscopies are also on video camera. The colon can be seen via a type of endoscopy procedure called a colonoscopy. A smaller scope, called a sigmoidoscope, is used as an office procedure to visualize the last portion of the colon.

The respiratory system can be evaluated using a rhinoscope for evaluating the nose and a bronchoscope is used to evaluate the trachea and the bronchial tree. Biopsies can be taken of suspicious areas in the lungs and evaluated for the presence of lung cancer.

A cystoscope is a device used by urologists to evaluate the urinary bladder. Endoscopic procedures for gynecology include the culposcope, which evaluates the cervix under high magnification and the hysteroscope, which can evaluate and biopsy the inside of the uterus. The fallopian tubes can be evaluated via endoscopy as well.

Closed body spaces can be seen via endoscopy and the use of a scope entering via a small incision. The abdominal or pelvic organs can be seen by laparoscopy. Arthroscopy can visualize the inside of a joint. Specialized procedures called mediastinoscopy and thoracoscopy can evaluate structures inside the thoracic cavity. In pregnancy, a fetoscope can evaluate or treat issues involving a fetus in utero.

Special developments

Endoscopy is now being used with special surgical instruments and lasers to perform intra-abdominal surgery and intra-pelvic surgery. Fetal surgery is now possible using endoscopy. In a procedure called an ERCP, an endoscope is passed into the duodenum and dye can be placed inside the bile ducts to check for blockages. Recently ingestible cameras the size of pills can be swallowed for evaluation of the entire intestinal tract.