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Endoscopy is a way of looking inside the body using a flexible tube that has a small camera and light on the end of it. This instrument is called an endoscope.
Small instruments can be inserted through an endoscope and used to:
An endoscope is passed through a natural body opening or small cut. There are many types of endoscopes. Each one is named according to the organs or areas they are used to examine.
Preparation for the procedure varies depending on the test. For example, there is no preparation needed for anoscopy. But a special diet and laxatives are needed to prepare for a colonoscopy. Follow your health care provider's instructions.
All of these tests may cause discomfort or pain. Some are done after sedatives and pain medicines are given. Check with your provider about what to expect.
Each endoscopy test is done for different reasons. Endoscopy is often used to examine and treat parts of the digestive tract, such as:
Arthroscopy is used to look directly in the joints, such as the knee. The scope is inserted through small surgical cuts around the joint. Problems with bones, tendons, ligaments can be treated.
Each endoscopy test has its own risks. Your provider will explain these to you before the procedure.
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Reviewed By: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.