This is a procedure that is done to examine the digestive tract. It is a nonsurgical process which involves the use of a flexible tube which has a camera attached. The doctor will use it to view the digestive tract on a TV monitor. This tube is passed through the mouth, throat, food pipe, stomach up to the small intestine, this is the upper endoscopy. For the tests which need to examine the colon, the tube is passed through the rectum to the intestine. For tests in the pancreas and gallbladder, an ERCP is done.
An endoscopy will be recommended when the doctor wants to evaluate: stomach pain, gastritis, digestive tract bleeding, polyps, ulcers, chronic constipation or diarrhea among other digestive tract problem. It can also be used to take a biopsy to examine the presence of a problem in the digestive tract.
This procedure is normally safe, although there might be some few complications such as tearing the gut wall, infection or bleeding. Normally these complications are rare. All endoscopy procedures are done by a gastroenterology specialist; also specialists such as gastrointestinal surgeons can perform the procedure. You will be required to have fasted for 6-8 hours before the procedure if an upper endoscopy is required while examination of the colon will need a stool to have cleared. Sedatives may be used.