The Difference Between Endoscopy, Gastroscopy, and Colonoscopy

Endoscopy is the term used to describe the direct visiual inspection of any part of the interior of the body, by means of an optical viewing instrument referred to as an endoscope, introduced through a natural orifice or through a small surgical incision. Natural ports of entry are used for procedures such as viewing the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, and colon. Artificial ports of entry are typically used in procedures such as laparoscopy (examination of the abdominal cavity or performance of minor abdominal surgery using a laparoscope) and arthroscopy (the use of an arthroscope to diagnose an injury to or disease of a joint or to perform minor surgery on a joint). Endoscopy encompasses many techniques and is performed for a large variety of reasons.


Gastroscopy, also referred to as upper gastro intestinal endoscopy and esophageo gastro duodenoscopy, is a particular type of endoscopy that is specifically used to inspect the upper gastro intestinal tract - the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Gastroscopy is performed with the intention of looking for abnormalities, obtaining a biopsy, or in treatments such as banding (the use of elastic bands to apply pressure and constrict parts of the body such as a bleeding hemorrhoid or esophageal varix) and sclerotherapy (a treatment for esophageal bleeding that involves the use of an endoscope and the injection of a sclerosing solution into the veins). While endoscopy can utilize surgical incisions depending on the intended procedure and area of viewing, gastroscopy is limited to insertion of the endoscope through the mouth. Both imaging procedures use the same instrument, an endoscope, and both can be enhanced with ultrasound. While endoscopy may require general anesthesia, gastroscopy requires only local anesthesia and sedation. Symptoms that may require gastroscopy include vomiting blood, stomach pain, difficulty swallowing, or suspected ulcer.

Colonoscopy is essentially the opposite of gastroscopy. Colonoscopy is performed with the intention of viewing the rectum and colon. The device is inserted through the anus, and advanced to the large intestine, extending up as high as the end of the small intestine. Colonoscopy allows an examination of the entire colon, though a more specific procedure called sigmoidoscopy may be sufficient. Sigmoidoscopy only examines up to the sigmoid, the most distal part of the colon. In some cases, both colonoscopy and gastroscopy may be performed at the same time. Colonoscopy may be performed to determine the cause of dark blood in the stool, to test for abnormalities in the colon, such as polyps that may indicate cancer, to test for inflammatory bowel disease, or to determine the cause of anemia, for example.

Endoscopy is considered a minimally invasive procedure, and complications for all procedures may include perforation or bleeding, reaction to the medicine used for sedation, and infection. In rare cases, nerve damage may occur. For gastroscopic procedures, side effects patients may typically experience include a sore throat, or a temporary loss of the gag reflex. The most common side effects patients may experience after a colonoscopy is a feeling of cramping or bloating, which is usually relieved after the passage of gas. Patients should always discuss risks and complications thoroughly with their physician before having any surgical procedure.




M.D. Endoscopy

As the industry leader of pre-owned, refurbished and used endoscopy equipment, M.D. Endoscopy, Inc. offers one of the largest inventories of endoscopes in the world. We offer products from all major manufacturers including but not limited to Olympus, Pentax and Fujinon with the only and most comprehensive 24-month warranty in the industry.

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