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Endoscopy is a way of looking inside the body using a flexible tube that has a small camera 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.
Endoscopy is often used to examine and treat parts of the digestive tract, such as:
Bronchoscopy is used to look in the airways and lungs.
Cystoscopy is used to view the inside of the bladder. The scope is passed through the opening of the urethra.
Laparoscopy is used to look directly at the ovaries, appendix, or other abdominal organs.
Arthroscopy is used to look directly in the joints.
The preparation for the test varies greatly, depending on the test. For example, there is no preparation needed for anoscopy, whereas a special diet and laxatives are needed to prepare for a colonoscopy. Check with your doctor about what preparation is required for your test.
All of these tests cause discomfort or pain. Some of them are done after sedatives and pain medications are given. Check with your doctor about what to expect.
Kraft M. Approach to the patient with respiratory disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 83.
Pasricha PJ. Gastrointestinal endoscopy. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 136.
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.