Endoscopy means looking inside and typically refers to looking inside the body for medical reasons using an endoscope, an instrument used to examine the interior of a hollow organ or cavity of the body. Unlike most other medical imaging devices, endoscopes are inserted directly into the organ. Endoscope can also refer to using a borescope in technical situations where direct line of-sight observation is not feasible.
A health care provider may use endoscopy for any of the following:
- investigation of symptoms, such as symptoms in the digestive system including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing and gastrointestinal bleeding.
- confirmation of a diagnosis, most commonly by performing a biopsy to check for conditions such as anemia, bleeding, inflammation, cancers of the digestive system.
- giving treatment, such as cauterization of a bleeding vessel, widening a narrow esophagus, clipping off a polyp or removing a foreign object.