Endoscopy: A Diagnostic and Therapeutic Tool

Endoscopy is a method to diagnose and treat various gastrointestinal problems, the procedure of endoscopy includes the insertion of a flexible tube with a camera and a light at the end into the body to view the internal organs like food pipe, stomach and small intestine. The procedure is painless and lasts not than few minutes and done under conscious sedation.

Diagnostic Endoscopy: Endoscopy is typically used to diagnose problems of acidity, indigestion, abdominal pain, vomiting, trouble in swallowing, bleeding from the mouth, as well as foreign body ingestion. These signs can be caused by a selection of conditions, and endoscopy helps determine the underlying issue.

Therapeutic Endoscopy: In addition to diagnostic usage, endoscopy is also used therapeutically to treat various problems of the digestive system. Some of the treatments performed utilizing endoscopy consist of: 

Endoscopic treatment of bleeding Ulcer: Bleeding from mouth could be due to ulcers in food pipe/stomach/small intestine. The bleeding of an ulcer can be stopped with treatment by clipping/injection/diathermy.

Endoscopic variceal band ligation: This procedure is used to deal with bleeding varices, in which bands are applied in the esophagus or stomach. Foreign body removal: Endoscopy can be used to remove foreign bodies, such as coins / meat bones / pencils/batteries etc that have been ingested. 

Esophageal stent placement for food pipe cancer: Stents can be put in the esophagus to keep it open and allow the food to travel through esophagus into the stomach.

Duodenal stent placement for cancer/stricture of duodenum: Stents can also be put in the duodenum, the initial part of the small intestine in cases of duodenal cancer 

Esophageal/stomach dilatation for cases of post-corrosive ingestion: Ingesting destructive compounds can trigger damage to the esophagus or stomach, causing narrowing. Endoscopic dilatation of food pipe / stomach can help relieve the narrowing and improve digestion

Positioning of Ryles tube for feeding: Endoscopy can be utilized to position a Ryles tube, which is a slim, adaptable tube that passes through the nose or mouth into the stomach. It is made use of for feeding functions in cases where the individual can not eat on his own.

Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) for feeding for long durations: In cases where a person requires assisted feeding for a long duration, a PEG tube can be placed via the abdominal wall surface into the stomach using endoscopy.

Polypectomy: Endoscopic techniques can be used to remove polyps, which are developments on the internal lining of the intestinal tract.The procedure is safe and does not involve surgery.

To conclude, endoscopy is a versatile device that can be utilized for both diagnostic and therapeutic objectives. It is a safe as well as effective way to analyze as well as deal with problems of the digestive system. If you are experiencing any stomach problems, talk to your doctor to see if endoscopy may be the ideal selection for you.

Dr. Sandeep Dhavan
MBBS,MD (Medicine), DM (Gastroenterology) (PGIMER-Chandigarh, India)
Senior Consultant
Gastroenterology & Hepatology