What is an Endoscopy?

Endoscopy is a term used to describe several different investigations that examine the digestive system using an endoscope.
An endoscope is a long, thin, flexible tube containing a tiny video camera which films images from inside the body and transmits them onto a screen for the doctor to view in real-time.

Endoscopy is a method of examining the digestive system and  includes the following investigations:

  • Gastroscopy: endoscopic examination of the oesophagus (the muscular tube connecting the mouth and stomach, also known as the gullet), the stomach and the first section of the small bowel (duodenum).
  • Colonoscopy: endoscopic examination using a colonoscope which is passed through the anus and guided around the large bowel until it reaches the entrance of the small bowel (the terminal ileum).
  • Capsule endoscopy: A 10-hour test usually completed at home that examines the middle section of the digestive tract, the small bowel (from below the stomach to the beginning of the large bowel.) A pill-sized, video-imaging wireless capsule is swallowed and passes through the body. 50,000 images are taken and stored as it passes through the body.
  • ERCP: (Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography): endoscopic examination using x-ray screening to view and treat the pancreatic and bile ducts.
  • Small bowel enteroscopy: similar to a gastroscopy but using longer endoscopic equipment to examine further into the small bowel.