Endoscopy involves using an endoscope – a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny video camera and light on the end – to look inside the body. The procedure allows physicians to evaluate the lining of the upper digestive system. High-quality pictures from the endoscope are shown on a television monitor, providing a clear and detailed view of the organs.
Endoscopy is often preferable to other procedures because it enables physicians to see abnormalities such as bleeding and inflammation that don’t show up well on X-ray studies. The scope also blows air into the stomach, expanding the tissue folds and making problem areas more evident.
If anything suspicious is found during the examination, a tissue sample can be removed for biopsy. A physician can also insert instruments into the scope to treat conditions such as a bleeding ulcer.
UT Southwestern Medical Center’s physicians use advanced endoscopy to diagnose and treat conditions such as:
- Acute and chronic pancreatitis
- Benign and malignant strictures
- Complicated acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD)
- Complicated colon polyps
- Gallstones trapped in the bile ducts
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Pancreatic cysts
- Pancreatic stones