Many endoscopic examinations can be carried out through natural body orifices (anus, mouth, nose, ears) using endoscopy equipment. The endoscope is then inserted through the corresponding opening and pushed to the desired examination site. The introduction is usually painless, but patients often find it uncomfortable. To counteract this, sedatives and local anesthesia are used, including light anesthesia.
In capsule endoscopy, the endoscope is swallowed like a somewhat oversized drug capsule and then sent on its journey through the esophagus and gastrointestinal tract. With some endoscopies, a small tissue incision must be made to insert the device, such as an abdominal mirror. Such examinations take place under general anesthesia. There are numerous forms of endoscopy – each with its name. Three common ones are discussed below.
The colonoscopy or colonoscopy is carried out for preventive examinations from the age of 50 or if there is a suspicion of more severe bowel diseases (e.g., colon cancer, colon ulcers, chronic bowel inflammation). The bowel must be completely emptied, which is achieved by a previously taken laxative. In addition, the patient must be sober. The endoscope is inserted with the patient in a stable left lateral position and advanced to the appendix or the last part of the small intestine. When the endoscope is slowly withdrawn, the intestine is “inflated” by blowing in the air to enable a better examination.
Endoscopy Of The Stomach
Gastroscopy or gastroscopy is used to examine the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. The patient must have been sobering for at least six hours. The endoscope is gradually introduced through the oropharynx, with the patient lying on their left side. The gag reflex is the biggest obstacle and is often immobilized by light anesthesia. Gastroscopies are performed in the case of unclear upper abdominal complaints, suspected reflux disease, swallowing difficulties, unclear diarrhea, and suspected stomach ulcers or gastric cancer. They are also important for treating bleeding in this area, such as esophageal varices in cirrhosis of the liver.
In a lung specimen or bronchoscopy, the endoscope is inserted through the nose or mouth into the windpipe (trachea) and advanced into the lung area. Either a rigid probe or, more often, a movable probe is used for this. Rigid bronchoscopy takes place under general anesthesia, while local anesthesia is sufficient for flexible bronchoscopy. Fields of application in diagnostics include suspected pneumonia, lung tumors, coughing up blood, or unclear lung changes when using other imaging methods. Bronchoscopy is also used for minor interventions such as removing inhaled foreign bodies, mucus suction, bleeding arrest, lung flushing, widening of bronchial constrictions, or as part of radiation therapy for lung cancer.