Gastroenterologists in the London Advanced Endoscopy Clinic use endoscopy techniques to diagnose and treat conditions of the upper part of the digestive system, such as the esophagus, stomach and beginning of the small intestine.
Common disorders treated in the Advanced Endoscopy Clinic include:
Your Mayo Clinic Healthcare doctor may recommend an endoscopy procedure to:
- Investigate signs and symptoms, such as nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, bleeding and difficulty swallowing.
- Diagnose a condition, which might include collecting tissue samples for testing.
- Treat disease by passing through the endoscope tools that can burn tissue to stop bleeding, widen narrow passages, remove foreign objects and clip off polyps.
What is endoscopy?
Endoscopy involves examining and treating your upper or lower digestive system with tools such as a tiny camera on the end of a long, flexible tube inserted through the mouth or anus. Before your procedure, a nurse will discuss exactly how you should prepare, depending on your needs and the type of endoscopy.
An endoscopy of the upper GI tract is called a gastroscopy and an endoscopy of the bowel and intestines is a colonoscopy.
You will need to fast for a number of hours before the endoscopic procedure to ensure that your stomach or bowel is empty. You might also need to stop taking certain medications, such as blood-thinners, a few days before your endoscopy. Blood thinners may increase your risk of bleeding if certain procedures are performed during the endoscopy. Your Mayo Clinic Healthcare nurse will review your medications with you and discuss any concerns before your procedure.
Usually you will need to lie down on your back or on your side for an endoscopy. Specialists will attach monitors to your body so your care team can monitor breathing, heart rate and blood pressure. You will probably also receive a sedative to you relax during the procedure. For an upper endoscopy, before inserting the endoscope, your doctor may spray an anesthetic to the back of your mouth to numb your throat and give you a plastic mouth guard.
As the scope passes through your throat, you may feel some pressure but shouldn't experience much discomfort.
Depending on your needs, experts in the Advanced Endoscopy Clinic may suggest combining endoscopy with other procedures. For instance, they may attach an ultrasound to an endoscope to create images of your esophagus wall, stomach or hard-to-reach organs, such as the pancreas.
Types of endoscopic procedures:
- Colonoscopy. This exam allows your doctor to view your entire colon using a thin, flexible, lighted tube with a camera at the end. During the procedure, your doctor can also take small samples of tissue (biopsy) for laboratory analysis. A biopsy is the way to make the diagnosis of IBD versus other forms of inflammation.
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy. Your doctor uses a slender, flexible, lighted tube to examine the rectum and sigmoid, the last portion of your colon. If your colon is severely inflamed, your doctor may perform this test instead of a full colonoscopy.
- Upper endoscopy. Also known as OGD or gastroscopy, this procedure uses a slender, flexible, lighted tube to examine the esophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestine (duodenum). This test may be recommended if you are having nausea and vomiting, difficulty eating or swallowing, anemia, or upper bleeding or upper abdominal pain.
- Capsule endoscopy. This test is sometimes used to help diagnose Crohn's disease or identify causes of anemia involving your small intestine. You swallow a capsule that has a camera in it. The images are transmitted to a recorder that you wear on your belt, after which the capsule exits your body painlessly in your stool. You may still need an endoscopy with a biopsy to confirm a diagnosis of Crohn's disease or a cause for your anemia. Capsule endoscopy should not be performed if there is a bowel obstruction.
- Balloon-assisted enteroscopy. For this test, a scope is used in conjunction with a device called an overtube. This enables the doctor to look further into the small bowel where standard endoscopes don't reach. This technique is useful when a capsule endoscopy shows abnormalities but the diagnosis is still in question.