Technology advances very quickly. New endoscopic procedures make it possible to diagnose and solve problems that previously required surgery. Now you can easily and safely observe, take biopsies, remove polyps, dilate ducts, remove stones, among other things, through the endoscope. If you’ve been told you need a stomach or colon endoscopy, or think you need one, keep reading.
The endoscope is a thin, flexible tube that uses fiber optics with cold light and allows photography and video to be taken. It has a working channel through which biopsy forceps, dilating balloons or cauterizing probes are passed. In the near future we will see even more spectacular advances.
Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy evaluates from the mouth, esophagus, and stomach to the first portions of the small intestine. The most widely used applications are for the diagnosis of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and its complications such as Barrett’s Esophagus (change in esophageal cells associated with reflux), acid peptic disease, with biopsy to detect the presence of a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori , which is associated with ulcers and even gastric cancer.
During the study , therapeutic procedures can be performed, such as dilation of narrow areas (stenosis), ablation (destruction of abnormal tissue with a laser beam), cauterization of bleeding, sampling (biopsies) and ligation of esophageal varices and even stone removal. of the bile duct.
The study is simple and safe, requires fasting for 8 hours and is generally done under controlled sedation, so the patient does not have any discomfort.
Endoscopy of the lower digestive tract, better known as colonoscopy, allows us to check the colon or large intestine and the last portion of the small intestine (terminal ileus). Preparation requires fasting the day of the study and a bland diet with the use of laxatives the day before. It is also done under sedation (it is not anesthesia) so there is no pain or discomfort.
The main indication is for the early detection of colon cancer, making it possible to find small polyps that are the precursors of cancer. Colonoscopy allows them to be detected and removed easily and safely.
The endoscope is also used to study patients with chronic diarrhea and other conditions of the colon.
On the Life and Health pages you will find medical material that will help you better understand the indications and benefits of endoscopy. It will allow you to consult with your doctor and you can make a better decision.