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Endoscopic Procedures

Complete Endoscopic Care

The hospitals of Community Healthcare System provides the full spectrum of endoscopic procedures available both within the hospitals and at our outpatient surgery locations. Below is a description of some of the more common types of endoscopic procedures your physician may order:

Colonoscopy - Colonoscopy is a common, safe test to examine the lining of the large bowel. During a colonoscopy, doctors who are trained in this procedure (endoscopists) can also see part of the small intestine (small bowel) and the end of the GI tract (the rectum). This procedure is often done under sedation to assure maximum patient comfort.

Sigmoidoscopy - Sigmoidoscopy, or "flexible sigmoidoscopy," lets a physician examine the lining of the rectum and a portion of the colon (large intestine) by inserting a small, flexible tube about the thickness of a finger into the anus and slowly advancing it into the rectum and lower part of the colon. This procedure evaluates only the lower third of the colon. Sigmoidoscopy is often done without any sedation, although sedation can be used if necessary.

Flexible sigmoidoscopy is not a substitute for total colonoscopy when it is indicated. The finding of a new, abnormally growing polyp during sigmoidoscopy, for example, is an indication for a colonoscopy to search for additional polyps or cancer.

Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) - An examination with a special endoscope fitted with a small ultrasound device on the end, used to look inside the layers of the wall of the gastrointestinal tract and visualize the surrounding organs including the pancreas, liver, gallbladder, spleen and adrenal glands. The scope is inserted in the mouth or anus in the same manner as a conventional endoscope.

PEG - Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) is a procedure that utilizes endoscopy to help placement of a tube into the stomach; a small incision in the skin is also required. Endoscopies are usually performed under sedation to assure maximal patient comfort.

Upper Endoscopy - Upper endoscopy allows for examination of the lining of the upper part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (first portion of the small intestine). In upper endoscopy, the physician uses a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope. The endoscope has a lens and light source, which projects images on a video monitor. This procedure is also referred to as upper GI endoscopy, or esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD). Upper endoscopy is often done under sedation to assure maximal patient comfort.

Upper endoscopy helps the doctor evaluate symptoms of persistent upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or difficulty swallowing. It is the best test for finding the cause of bleeding from the upper GI tract and is also more accurate than X-rays for detecting inflammation, ulcers and tumors of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum.

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) - A procedure using a specific technique to study and treat problems of the ducts involving the liver, pancreas and gallbladder. This procedure utilizes a specialized endoscope with a side-mounted camera that can facilitate passage of a catheter into the bile and pancreatic ducts.

Enteroscopy - Enteroscopy includes several types of procedures that allow a physician to look further into the small bowel (which is up to 20 feet long) than is possible with other methods mentioned here. A physician may use a longer conventional endoscope, a double-balloon endoscope or a capsule endoscope. Enteroscopy is primarily used to find the source of intestinal bleeding, but can also be used to find lesions and determine causes for nutritional malabsorption.

Capsule endoscopy - Capsule endoscopy uses a swallowable capsule containing tiny video cameras. The capsule, about the size of a large vitamin pill, contains a light source, batteries, a radio transmitter and an antenna. The capsule transmits the images to a recording device worn around the patient's waist. When complete, the recording is downloaded to a computer which displays it on a screen. The capsule is disposable and usually takes eight hours to move through the digestive system, after which it is passed harmlessly in a bowel movement. Capsule endoscopy does not require sedation and is painless. Capsule endoscopy can be used to diagnose hidden GI bleeding, Crohn's disease, celiac disease, and other malabsorption problems, tumors (benign and malignant), vascular malformations, medication injury, and to a lesser extent, esophageal disease. Currently, capsule endoscopy cannot be used to biopsy or treat any conditions.