What is an Endoscopy Procedure?

An endoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that allows doctors to see tissue or organs in detail without having to make a large incision. During an endoscopy procedure, a long thin tube with an attached camera is inserted into an opening in the body, such as the mouth, anus or through a small incision. The camera attached to the endoscope displays the images it’s capturing on a monitor in the operating room for the doctors to see.

Types of Endoscopy

Doctors order endoscopies for various symptoms across different areas of the body, and there are multiple types of endoscopy to help them make a diagnosis.

  • Anoscopy: This type of endoscopy examines the anus.
  • Arthroscopy: This procedure investigates the interior of a joint.
  • Bronchoscopy: This is an examination of the nose.
  • Capsule endoscopy: In this type of endoscopy, the patient swallows a capsule with a very tiny camera inside, which captures images as it moves through the digestive tract.
  • Colonoscopy: This is an examination of the large intestine and colon.
  • Colposcopy: This endoscopy examines the cervix.
  • Cystoscopy: This is an investigation of the urinary tract.
  • Enteroscopy: This procedure examines the small intestine.
  • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy: This is an investigation of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (the first part of the small intestine).
  • Falloposcopy: This endoscopy examines the fallopian tubes.
  • Hysteroscopy: This procedure investigates the uterus.
  • Laparoscopy: This is an examination of the abdomen and pelvic cavity.
  • Otoscopy: This is an investigation of the ear.
  • Rectoscopy: This endoscopy investigates the bile duct and rectum.
  • Sigmoidoscopy: This procedure examines the lower part of the colon, the sigmoid colon.
  • Thoracoscopy and mediastinoscopy: This procedure investigates the organs of the chest.

How to Prepare for an Endoscopy

Doctors will provide patients with specific instructions for preparing for their endoscopy. In general, patients should not eat or drink anything for 6-8 hours before the procedure. If the endoscopy is to examine the colon, laxatives or an enema will need to be used the day before the endoscopy. Patients should talk to their doctor about the medications they are taking and if any need to be temporarily stopped before the procedure.

Endoscopy FAQs

How long does an endoscopy take?

An endoscopy takes about 10-30 minutes.

What should a patient expect from an endoscopy?

Patients will wear a hospital gown and for most endoscopies, patients will be sedated.

How long is the recovery from an endoscopy?

Patients should expect to be in recovery for about 40 minutes. Someone else should drive them home from the endoscopy appointment, because of the lingering effects of the sedation.

How long will it take to get the endoscopy results?

Doctors will have a patient’s endoscopy results in a few days, and will contact the patient when the results have been received.

What Does an Endoscopy Show?

Different types of endoscopy will show different types of conditions. Doctors use endoscopy for investigating a number of concerns. An endoscopy can help identify bleeding, inflammation, tumors and infection. It can show polyps and help doctors diagnose ulcers and cancers.

Endoscopy Risks and Side Effects

There are some endoscopy risks and side effects to be aware of. These may include a sore throat if the endoscope entered the patient’s body through the mouth, so the patient may need to eat soft foods for a few days. If a cystoscopy was performed, there may be blood in the urine, which should clear up in a few days. Other side effects include bloating and gas. See a doctor immediately if any of the following occur: chest pain, vomiting, fever, difficulty swallowing, abdominal pain, or very black or bloody stools.

Endoscopy Recovery

Patients should expect to spend the remainder of the day resting for complete endoscopy recovery, and not drive until the following day to give the sedative time to wear off. After this time, normal activities can resume. Unless a patient is experiencing a sore throat from having the endoscope move through the esophagus, a regular diet can resume 24 hours after the procedure. Before that time, eat small, soft, easily digestible meals. For conditions diagnosed following an endoscopy, a list of possible treatments is below, depending on the diagnosis.

  • Medications, such as antibiotics
  • IV fluids and blood transfusions
  • Additional procedures, including surgery
  • Chemotherapy or radiation therapy

Endoscopy Procedures at Baptist Health

Patients experiencing symptoms of the following conditions should talk to their doctor about endoscopy procedures:

  • Tumors
  • Infections
  • Polyps
  • Gallstones
  • Pancreatitis
  • Ulcers
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Unexplained bleeding
  • Chronic constipation
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Hiatal hernia

Safe, successful endoscopy procedures are just one example of the complete care provided by the medical professionals at Baptist Health.