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What Are the Different Types of Endoscopic Procedures?

By Deneatra Harmon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A gastroenterologist performs different types of endoscopic procedures to treat various stomach, esophageal, and digestive problems. Some common surgeries, which are usually done in outpatient settings while the patient is sedated, include colonoscopy, upper endoscopy, endoscopic ultrasound, and bronchoscopy. Other tests include sigmoidoscopy and percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy, also known as PEG.

Most types of endoscopic procedures serve as preventative measures against cancer or other digestive illnesses. During a colonoscopy, the doctor inserts a narrow lighted tube known as an endoscope into the patient's rectum to screen for polyps or abnormalities in the colon and large intestine. The endoscope also includes a small camera that allows the doctor to thoroughly examine the lower part of the digestive system. If polyps are found, then the doctor removes them for further examination. Early removal can also stop the onset of colon cancer.

By contrast, the doctor conducts an upper endoscopy to examine the upper region of the digestive system. Specifically, the test involves inserting the endoscope through the patient's mouth to look at the gastrointestinal (GI) tract from the esophagus to the duodenum. The gastroenterologist generally uses the upper endoscopy to examine inflammation or ulcers within the GI tract. Upper endoscopy also helps to examine GI-related symptoms such as nausea and bleeding. Specialists use the test to find and treat problems ranging from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) to certain cancers.

An endoscopic ultrasound uses a small transducer that produces sound waves, in addition to the endoscope. These sound waves help the doctor to investigate medical symptoms affecting the GI tract. This particular procedure, in which the endoscope goes into the patient's mouth, allows views of the duodenum, stomach, and the esophagus, as well as the gallbladder, liver, and pancreas. The physician often uses endoscopic ultrasound to diagnose and treat illnesses such as pancreatic cancer. Like other types of endoscopic procedures, this form of ultrasound allows the doctor to remove tissues or polyps with the GI tract to determine whether they are benign or malignant.

Types of endoscopic procedures also include the bronchoscopy, which examines parts of the respiratory system such as the lungs and airways. The test features a special bronchoscope used to check for airway obstruction and other breathing problems. Patients with pulmonary diseases generally undergo a bronchoscopy for diagnosis and treatment of lung problems.

Sigmoidoscopy is another one of the endoscopic procedures that involves examining the colon as well as the rectum. During this exam, the doctor inserts a special flexible tube into the anus to get to the rectum and the lower region of the colon. Patients are not required to be sedated during the procedure, but it is optional. A sigmoidoscopy helps to diagnose and treat lesions, colon cancer, and fissures, as well as rectal bleeding and polyps.

Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG) is intended for patients with swallowing problems or nutrient deficiencies. In this exam, the specialist places a feeding tube through the patient's abdominal wall. Before undergoing the process, the doctor administers a local anesthesia and sedative, as well as an antibiotic to prevent infection. The PEG tube helps the patient to take in medications and nutrients from food and beverages because contents bypass the mouth and esophagus to travel straight to the stomach.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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