When an endoscopy is used

An endoscopy can be used to:

  • investigate unusual symptoms
  • help perform certain types of surgery

An endoscope can also be used to remove a small sample of tissue for further analysis. This is known as a Biopsy .

Investigating symptoms

An endoscopy might be recommended to investigate the following symptoms:

  • difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • persistent abdominal pain
  • chest pain that isn't caused by heart-related conditions
  • persistent nausea and vomiting
  • unexplained weight loss
  • vomiting blood
  • persistent diarrhoea
  • blood in your stools

If the gullet (oesophagus), stomach or first part of the small intestine needs to be examined, it's known as a gastroscopy .

If the bowel needs to be examined, it's known as a colonoscopy. Watch a video about what happens during a colonoscopy .

Other types of endoscopies used to investigate symptoms include:

  • bronchoscopy used to examine the airways if you have a persistent cough or you're coughing up blood
  • hysteroscopy used to examine the inside of the womb (uterus) if there are problems such as unusual vaginal bleeding or repeated miscarriages
  • cystoscopy used to examine the inside of the bladder if there are problems such as urinary incontinence or blood in your urine
  • endoscopic ultrasound used to create images of internal organs, such as the pancreas, and take tissue samples

Therapeutic endoscopy

Modified endoscopes with surgical instruments attached to them or passed through them can be used to carry out certain types of surgery.

For example, they may be used to:

  • remove gallstones , bladder stones or kidney stones the procedure used to remove gallstones is known as an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography
  • repair damage inside joints (arthroscopy)
  • repair a bleeding stomach ulcer
  • place a stent across an area that has become narrowed or blocked
  • tie and seal the fallopian tubes a technique carried out during female sterilisation
  • remove small tumours from the lungs or digestive system
  • remove fibroids , non-cancerous growths that can develop inside the womb

Laparoscopic surgery

A laparoscope is a type of endoscope used by surgeons as a visual aid when carrying out keyhole surgery (laparoscopic surgery) .

Only small incisions are made during laparoscopic surgery, which means it's less painful afterwards and you'll recover more quickly.

Common types of keyhole surgery include:

  • removing an inflamed appendix in cases of appendicitis
  • removing the gallbladder , which is often used to treat gallstones
  • removing a section of the intestine, which is often used to treat digestive conditions, such as Crohn's disease or diverticulitis ,that don't respond to medication
  • repairing hernias
  • removal of the womb (hysterectomy)
  • removing some or all of an organaffected by cancer

Laparoscopies are also often used toinvestigate certain symptoms and help diagnose many different conditions.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018