Uses of an endoscopy  

An endoscopy is used to investigate unusual symptoms and to help perform types of surgery.  

Investigating symptoms

An endoscopy might be recommended to investigate the following symptoms:

These types of symptoms are usually investigated with a gastroscopy (to examine the upper section of the digestive system) or a colonoscopy (used to examine the bowel). Watch a video on what happens during a colonoscopy.

Other types of endoscopes used to investigate symptoms include:

An endoscope can also be used to remove a small sample of tissue for further analysis. This is known as a biopsy.

Therapeutic endoscopy

Modified endoscopes that have surgical instruments attached to or passed through them can be used to carry out certain surgical procedures. For example, they may be used to:

  • remove gallstonesbladder stones or kidney stones
  • repair a bleeding stomach ulcer
  • place a stent across areas of narrowing or blockage
  • tie and seal the fallopian tubes (a technique carried out when a woman wishes to be sterilised
  • remove small tumours from the lungs or digestive system
  • remove fibroids – non-cancerous growths that can develop inside the womb 

Laparoscopic surgery

A type of endoscope called a laparoscope is used by surgeons as a visual aid when carrying out keyhole surgery (also known as laparoscopic surgery). During this procedure, small cuts are made, meaning there is less post-operative pain and a faster recovery time compared to traditional open surgery.

Common types of keyhole surgery include:

Laparoscopies are also widely used to help diagnose many different conditions and investigate certain symptoms. Read more about when a laparoscopy is used.

An endoscopy is used to investigate problems with the digestive system 

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Page last reviewed: 29/07/2014

Next review due: 29/11/2016