Endoscopy uses a high resolution camera, placed at the end of a long flexible tube to assess different parts of the gastrointestinal tract. These tests are performed as day-case procedures in the operating theatre but do not require general anaesthetic.
This examines the upper gastrointestinal tract (oesophagus, stomach and duodenum). Before the test you should not eat anything for six hours so that the stomach is empty at the time of the examination. Precise instructions will be given at the time of your pre-visit assessment. The procedure is carried out with local anaesthetic sprayed on the back of the throat. Light sedation can also be given.
This examines the rectum and left colon. It is often used to examine people who have symptoms of rectal bleeding. The procedure is not usually performed with any anaesthetic or sedation. So that the bowel is clear of faeces, an enema is given by the nurse in the comfort of your own room.
This is very similar to a flexible sigmoidoscopy but examines the whole of the colon (large bowel). The main difference is that you have to drink a laxative and modify your diet the day before, to clear the bowel of any faeces. This test is very good at examining the whole of the large bowel for signs of inflammation, cancer or small polyps. Colonoscopy can also be used as a therapeutic tool for removing polyps, thereby preventing them from developing into bowel cancers. Some patients choose to have their colonoscopy with some sedation.
This test uses a tiny camera, mounted in a small capsule to take pictures and video as it passes through the small bowel. The capsule is simply swallowed and then is passed in the faeces. The pictures are transmitted wirelessly to a receiver and then reviewed by a specialist trained in interpreting the images. Capsule endoscopy can be very helpful in the diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease.