What Are the Different Types of Endoscopy Tests?

A.E. Freeman

During an endoscopy test, a thin tube with a camera attached to it is inserted into a person's body. The different types of endoscopy tests earn their name based on what part of the body is being examined. For example, a bronchoscopy is used to examine the lungs, while a laparoscopy is a test done to examine the pelvic area. Other endoscopy tests may be performed to look at the digestive system, reproductive system, or the joints.

Various types of endoscopy tests focus on various parts of the body.
Various types of endoscopy tests focus on various parts of the body.

A colonoscopy and esophagogastroduodeno-scopy are two endoscopy tests used to examine the digestive system. A colonoscopy, also called a lower endoscopy test, is done to examine a patient's entire colon and rectum. The scope is threaded through the rectum while the patient is sedated. Colonoscopies are usually performed to screen for cancer or to diagnose another medical condition. A sigmoidoscopy is a test performed on the lower portion of the colon only.

Tissues may be extracted during an endoscopy.
Tissues may be extracted during an endoscopy.

Esophagogastroduodeno-scopy (EGD), or an upper endoscopy, is a type of endoscopy test used to examine the stomach and esophagus. The scope is threaded through a patient's mouth down into his throat. An EGD is usually used to determine the cause of abdominal pain, vomiting, or heartburn. It can help diagnose conditions such as celiac disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or tumors.

Some endoscopy tests enter through the rectum.
Some endoscopy tests enter through the rectum.

Like an EGD, a bronchoscope is threaded through a person's mouth and throat. The bronchoscope goes into a person's trachea, not the esophagus, though, and is used to examine the airway and lungs. If a doctor needs to look at the upper airways, the scope may be threaded through the nose. During a bronchoscopy, a doctor may also take samples of the lungs for testing.

A patient may undergo a bronchoscopy to wash the airways and lungs, which is known as lavage. During the test, the doctor may also use the scope to extract a foreign object from the lungs or drain abscesses. In some cases, a bronchoscopy can be performed as a way to treat lung cancer.

Laproscopy is a type of endoscopy test performed in the abdominal or pelvic area. To insert the scope into the body, a doctor makes a small cut in the abdominal area and threads the scope through the incision. A patient is usually put under general anesthesia during the test. A laproscopy can be performed to examine the appendix or gallbladder or to diagnose cysts or cancers in the reproductive system, such as ovarian cysts or cancer. The test can also be performed to diagnose endometriosis or an ectopic pregnancy.

A laparoscopy procedure may be performed to diagnose ovarian cysts.
A laparoscopy procedure may be performed to diagnose ovarian cysts.

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Discussion Comments


@talentryto- Don't forget to wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing the day of your upper endoscopy. You will want to be comfortable when you wake up from sedation, and you will also need for your clothes to be easy to put on while you are groggy from the medications.


@talentryto- Though the upper endoscopy sounds very traumatizing, there really isn't anything to worry about. The patient is given a throat numbing spray, pain medications, and sedation before the procedure, so he or she will not feel any discomfort during the test or even remember having had it done.

As for preparing for an upper endoscopy, your doctor will give you complete instructions to follow prior well in advance of the test. Most likely you will have to eat a liquid diet the day before the test, and stop eating and drinking at a specified time the night before you have it done. You will also need to have a friend or family member accompany you to the procedure and drive you home, because you will not be able to following being sedated.


I was wondering if having an upper endoscopy is uncomfortable for the patient, because it sounds like it would be. I have to have one done in a few months, and I'm also wondering what I will have to do to prepare for the procedure.

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