Endoscopy is a medical procedure in which your doctor uses a long, thin, flexible tube to look inside parts of your body.
What is an endoscopy?
An endoscopy examines the inside of your body, and when necessary small procedures are also performed during the examination. It uses a special instrument, called an endoscope which is a long, flexible tube with a camera and light source on one end. Images can then be seen on a television screen. There are several types of endoscopes to investigate different parts of your body.
Endoscopies that are inserted through a natural opening in your body include:
- Gastroscopy or upper endoscopy – an endoscope, called a gastroscope, is inserted into your mouth to examine the upper parts of your digestive tract including your oesophagus, stomach and first part of your small intestine.
- Colonoscopy – an endoscope, called colonoscope, is inserted into your anus to examine lower parts of your digestive tract including your rectum and colon. A shorter tube may be used to examine just the lower part of your colon and is called a sigmoidoscopy.
- Bronchoscopy – an endoscope, called a bronchoscope, is inserted into your mouth or nose and passed down your throat to examine your airways and lungs.
- Cystoscopy – an endoscope, called a flexible cystoscope, is inserted into your urethra to examine your bladder.
- Capsule endoscopy- is a relatively new technique that involves swallowing a pill-sized disposable capsule that contains a wireless small camera to capture images of your digestive system. It is useful to look for problems in the small bowel that may otherwise be difficult to visualise.
- Bravo - A small capsule, about the size of a gel cap, is temporarily attached to the wall of the oesophagus during an upper endoscopy. The capsule measures pH levels in the esophagus and transmits readings by radio telecommunications to a receiver – about the size of a pager – worn on your belt or waistband.
What would an endoscopy test for?
An endoscopy is used to test for, diagnose and treat a number of medical conditions. Your doctor may perform an endoscopy to:
- Investigate symptoms – such as abnormal bleeding, persistent abdominal pain, difficulty or pain when swallowing, continuous nausea or diarrhoea or unexplained weight loss.<
- Diagnose medical conditions – a sample of tissue can be removed and sent to a laboratory for analysis (biopsy).
- Treat complaints - special instruments can be passed down the endoscope and used to remove polyps or fibroids.
- Screen or monitor changes – an endoscopy may be repeated at regular intervals as part of a screening program or to monitor an area following treatment.
How long does an endoscopy procedure last for?
An endoscopy is a quick and relatively safe outpatient procedure. It may be used instead of traditional open surgery to examine or treat problems.
The time it takes to perform an endoscopy will depend on the exact procedure. It can take just 15 minutes for a Gastroscopy, and 45 minutes for a Colonoscopy. This may be longer when also treating a condition.
What is the cost of endoscopy treatment?
The cost of your endoscopy treatment will depend on the exact endoscopy procedure you have.
At Ashtead Hospital, your consultant will discuss this with you and then you will be advised of the guide package price which includes unlimited aftercare.
As a guide, here are some of our endoscopy package prices:
Gastroscopy (Stomach examination) as a day patient £1390
We offer various ways to pay for your endoscopy including pay as you go, interest-free finance plans and All-inclusive Total Care packages where a single one-off pre-agreed price gives you direct access to all the treatment you need.
What does the recovery process involve after an endoscopy procedure?
After your endoscopy procedure you will usually go home the same day.
If you have a sedative you will need to rest for a short while and you will not be able to drive afterwards. You will need to arrange for someone to take you home and stay with you for 24 hours.
If you do not have a sedative, you will be able to go home soon after your endoscopy.
Your recovery process will depend on the type of endoscopy you have had. Your Consultant will provide any specific recovery information.
Recovery time following endoscopy is rapid usually within a few hours to a few days. You can expect to resume normal activities within this timeframe.
Endoscopy with Ashtead Hospital
Ashtead Hospital offers a full range of endoscopy procedures. All diagnostic endoscopies are performed in our dedicated endoscopy unit or outpatient department.
Our experienced and specialist Endoscopists offer convenient consultation appointments and routinely perform endoscopies to investigate, diagnose and treat a wide breadth of medical conditions.