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Endoscopic repair is a medical procedure that uses an endoscope to treat certain conditions. An endoscope is a surgical device that enables doctors to perform medical procedures inside the human body using minimally invasive methods. The procedure involves inserting the long, thin tube of an endoscope through a body opening or small incision. Doctors can then pass specialized surgical tools through the endoscope, or through additional small incisions, and perform the needed repair. Endoscopic repair surgeries carry less risk to patients than conventional surgery.
There are many different specialized endoscope configurations, but they all consist of the same basic elements. A thin tube, either rigid or flexible, provides a passage from outside the body to the inside. The end of the tube has a light device, most often a system of fiber optic cables, that illuminates the area at the end of the scope inside the body. A tiny camera at the end of the tube transmits images from inside out to the doctor, enabling him or her to see the area that needs repairs. Some endoscopes have additional tubes for the insertion of medical devices.
The device assists in repairs of many medical conditions including mitral valves, colon perforations, and abdominal wall hernias. It is also useful in performing uterine, spinal, and nasal repairs. Depending on the condition, an endoscopic repair may utilize a cauterizing laser, a cutting tool, or a suturing attachment. Sometimes, endoscopic surgery is assisted by robotic technology, where the surgeon works with highly specialized, programmed equipment that performs specific actions.
Conventional surgery requires a hospital surgical setting, while endoscopic procedures are often performed in outpatient settings. Some endoscopic procedures — those not requiring incisions — can take place in the doctor’s office. Conventional surgery carries more risks of infection, complications from anesthesia, and more recuperation time. Among the advantages of endoscopic repair surgery is the minimal scarring. An endoscope requires smaller incisions than conventional surgery, earning the procedure the nicknames belly button surgery and keyhole surgery.
There are different types of endoscopes for different areas of the body. A thoracoscope is a type of endoscope used in heart surgery. Laparoscopes are designed for abdominal procedures, while colonoscopes are long enough to examine the intestines. Bronchoscopes are for looking into the bronchial airways, including the esophagus and lungs. Each type of specialized endoscope has features that enable a doctor to examine, diagnose, and treat individual body areas.
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