Endoscopy allows your doctor to visualize various areas inside your body using an endoscope, a thin, flexible tube fitted with a camera. A number of endoscopic procedures are used to examine various parts of the body or treat certain conditions, including:

  • Arthroscopy visualizes inside the joints
  • Bronchoscopy examines the airways and lungs
  • Colonoscopy looks at the large intestine and rectum
  • Cystoscopy views the inside of the bladder
  • Enteroscopy studies the small intestine (small bowel)
  • Laparoscopy explores the abdomen or pelvis
  • Sigmoidoscopy assesses the lower part of the colon
  • Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy investigates the esophagus and stomach
  • Minimally invasive techniques

During the exam, an endoscope is passed through a natural opening in the body (such as the mouth or anus) or your doctor may make a small incision, such as in the pelvic or abdominal area for a laparoscopic exam.

Endoscopy can also be used to perform a biopsy or remove tissue, and the endoscope can be fitted with various devices such as lasers, ultrasound devices or tiny surgical instruments. A mild sedative is used during most endoscopic procedures.