endoscopy (gastrointestinal)

Last reviewed 03/2021

Endoscopy is a procedure that allows direct visualization of parts of the gastrointestinal tract and, if necessary, therapeutic manoeuvres to be undertaken. An endoscope is the requisite instrument; rigid endoscopes are not now generally used except for sigmoidoscopy.

Investigation of the oesophagus, stomach and proximal duodenum can be achieved with a gastroscope under light sedation.

A endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) allows visualization of the pancreas and the biliary tree.

A colonoscope allows investigation of the large bowel and terminal ileum. However, the whole of the large bowel can only be examined in 85-90% of subjects.

A sigmoidoscope allows visualization of the rectum. A flexible sigmoidoscope permits visualization of the sigmoid colon and descending colon.