An endoscopy is a procedure which involves inserting an endoscope (a thin, long, flexible tube with camera) into the body through the mouth or rectum to allow visual examination of the gastrointestinal tract.
3fivetwo private endoscopy clinic in Northern Ireland has a team of locally based Consultant Gastroenterologists and Surgeons who can deliver an examination, diagnosis and ultimately treatment of conditions in the oesophagus (gullet), stomach, large and small intestines (bowel) and biliary (gallbladder) system.
Endoscopy through the mouth involves using local anaesthetic spray to the throat to make it easier to pass the tube. The doctor will talk you through the procedure and explain everything fully. Some people find that mild sedation is useful to help relax but you should not drive or operate machinery for 24 hours after sedation. An endoscopy usually takes around 15-60 minutes depending on what it’s being used for. An endoscopy is usually done as a day procedure so you will likely not need to stay in hospital.
An endoscopy is usually safe and the risk of complications is low (less than 1 in 100).
Possible complications of an endoscopy include an infection in the part of the body that the endoscope is used to examine and excessive bleeding.
Types of Endoscopy
Oesophageal-Gastric-Duodenal (OGD) Endoscopy
This is usually known simply as an OGD or Gastroscopy and can be used to diagnose and treat problems affecting your upper intestinal tract including the oesophagus (gullet), stomach and duodenum (the first section of the small intestine). It is used to visualise the gut and take samples (biopsies) for analysis where indicated. It is used to diagnose:
- Non-ulcer dyspepsia (indigestion/pain not caused by an ulcer)
- Damage caused by gastro-oesophageal acid reflux disease (GORD)
- Cancer of the stomach or oesophagus.
ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio-Pancreatography)
ERCP combines the use of endoscopy and X-rays. A special camera with a port for small flexible instruments is passed in a similar fashion to an OGD. It is used mainly to diagnose and treat conditions that affect the bile ducts and nearby structures e.g. some gallstones, strictures, leaks and certain cancers.
A Colonoscopy or Sigmoidoscopy involves passing the endoscope through the anus into the intestine. This allows the doctor to look directly at the lining of the large intestine (the colon) and take a biopsy for later analysis if necessary. It is recommended for:
- alterations in bowel habit
- blood in the stool
- unexplained anaemia (low blood count)
- a screening tool for colon cancer