Endoscopic Procedures

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Endoscopy is a procedure that involves inserting a thin, flexible tube with a small video camera at the tip, into the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract via the mouth (gastroscopy) or anus (colonoscopy). It enables examination of the lining of the GI tract for the purpose of diagnosis, and often treatment, of disorders affecting this part of the body. Tissue samples (biopsies) are often taken during the procedure to aid diagnosis. Endoscopy is usually a day procedure, with sedation given by an anaesthetist.


This enables the lining of the upper GI tract (oesophagus, stomach and duodenum) to be examined for abnormalities. Some abnormalities can be treated during the procedure. It may be used to investigate symptoms including:
abdominal pain
swallowing difficulties
These symptoms may be caused by a wide range of disorders including inflammation, ulcers, hiatal hernias, narrowing of the oesophagus and tumours.


The colon, or large bowel, starts at the end of the small intestine and ends at the anus. Prior to colonoscopy, the bowel needs to be cleared of faeces. This involves a modified diet and consuming ‘bowel prep’ (laxatives). The colonoscope is moved through the colon to view its lining. It may be used to investigate concerns including:
an altered bowel habit – diarrhoea or constipation
abdominal pain
bleeding – visualised or detected on stool tests
iron deficiency anaemia
These complaints may be caused by a wide variety of disorders including inflammation (colitis) of different types, polyps and cancer. If polyps have been removed previously, further ‘surveillance’ colonoscopies at specific intervals are usually advised to identify and remove new polyps.
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