Endoscopy is the generic name given to any minimally invasive surgical procedure in which scopes are inserted into the body through tiny incisions for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. The term minimally invasive surgery is used because the diagnosis and treatment is possible even with very less body cavity invasion. This procedure enables the surgeon to take a look into the body cavity without the necessity of major surgery. An endoscope is a flexible and long tube with a video camera at one end and a lens at the other end. AS far as possible an endoscope is inserted into the body through one of the natural openings like nose, mouth, anus or urethra.
An endoscopy is needed when the doctor needs to examine an internal organ visually. With the help of the lighted camera attached to the endoscope the surgeon is able to see potential problems without making large incisions. The surgeon is able to see the exact view of the endoscope on a screen. With the help of these images the doctor may be able to say for sure whether a specific organ or area in your body is damaged, infected or cancerous. In such a case the doctor will recommend an endoscopic biopsy. The usage of forceps is involved in endoscopic biopsy to remove a small tissue sample which is then analyzed and tested to check if it is cancerous. The sample is sent to a lab for testing purposes.
However, other methods of diagnosis are also used in combination with endoscopy. For instance, the doctor will examine the patient physically, review their symptoms and may also order some blood tests before deciding on an endoscopy. With the help of these tests your doctor will get a better understanding of the probable causes cause of your symptoms. Another decision that the doctor will be able to make is whether the ailment can be treated without endoscopy or surgery.
Endoscopy can be performed for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. In other words with the help of endoscopy the doctor is able to identify and determine the best possible treatment methods for the medical conditions that occur in the inside organs of the body. Endoscopy is also the best method for the early detection of cancer of several types.
During the procedure many different types of instruments may be passed through the working channel of the endoscope. This permits the doctor to treat many problems of the digestive system with very less or no discomfort. This procedure when performed on the digestive system is performed under general anesthesia. The narrowed areas of the stomach or esophagus can be opened, polyps or swallowed objects can be removed and upper gastrointestinal bleeding can be stopped. Many times endoscopy and major abdominal surgery are used in conjunction in order to treat bleeding which greatly reduces the requirement for post operative transfusions of blood.
During an upper endoscopy the endoscope is inserted through the mouth and throat into the esophagus which allows the doctor to see the esophagus, stomach and upper portion of the small intestine. At the same time endoscope can also be passed through the rectum into the large intestine in order to examine this area. There is also a special form of endoscopy known as ERCP or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreaticography which allows a view of the gallbladder, pancreas and the related structures. Endscopic ultrasound on the other hand is a combination of ultrasound and upper endoscopy to get images of the different parts of the digestive system.
Endoscopy is often recommended for the evaluation of the following disorders:
At the same time endoscopy procedure is also used to perform biopsies to look for the presence of cancerous cells. As far as treatment is concerned this procedure can be used to treat many problems in the digestive tract. For instance, the endoscope is not just able to detect bleeding from an ulcer, but instruments can be passed through the endoscope to stop the bleeding. The polyps in the colon can be removed with the help of the scope in order to prevent the development of colon cancer. Even in cases where the gallstones have passed outside the gallbladder and into the bile duct can be removed with the help of ERCP.
There are many benefits of endoscopic surgery procedures like laparoscopy as compare to traditional open surgery as this is a minimally invasive surgery.
In an open surgery one large incision is made in the abdomen to expose the tissues and structures in the abdominal cavity for examination and treatment. On the other hand in an endoscopic procedure only a small incision of approximately 1 cm in length is made in the abdomen and this incision is usually around the belly button area. Carbon dioxide is then used to inflate the abdomen and provide a clear view of the organs inside for the surgeon to examine along with providing them with room for work. Let us look at some major advantages of endoscopic surgery:
There is almost negligible bleeding during this type of surgery because the size of the incision is very small compared to the large incision required in open surgery. This eliminates the need for blood transfusion in most cases after the surgery.
Due to the smaller size of the incision the risk of pain after surgery is also reduced. On the other hand when a large incision is used the patient has to take pain relief medicines for a long time till the time the stitches heal completely. With endoscopic surgery the wound caused due to the operation is very small and the healing process is less painful.
The formation of scar is also smaller due to the small incision while with larger incisions where the surgical wound is large the scar tissue is more likely to become infected and is more vulnerable to herniation, especially in overweight patients.
In endoscopic surgery the exposure of the internal organs is reduced significantly as compared with open surgery which reduces the risk of post operative infection.
The length of stay in the hospital is considerably shorter with endoscopic surgery because the healing is also much faster. Most patients are discharged on the same day and can return to their normal everyday lives much more quickly compared to an open surgery procedure.
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