Whilst scans are very useful tests for examining the inside of the abdomen, they do not allow your doctors to look at the inside of the stomach or bowel and always see what is going on in the intestinal lining. An endoscopy or gastroscopy looks at the stomach & duodenum (1st part of the small bowel) whilst a colonoscopy is used to study the large bowel. A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a colonoscopy that only looks at the 1st meter of so of the colon on the left side of the abdomen. These tests make it possible to examine the lining surface of the stomach, duodenum and colon in order to identify ulcers, tears, points of bleeding, polyps, infections, inflammatory conditions and early (or advanced) cancers.
These tests also allow the specialist to take small samples of tissue (biopsies) which are then sent to the laboratory for examination under the microscope.
A “scope” is essentially a small diameter flexible telescope equipped with a microchip camera and a bright light which allows the specialist to look directly inside the intestine to diagnose disease.
The procedure is performed at the as a day case/ambulatory procedure under intravenous sedation. Our team includes an anaesthetist whose job is to ensure you receive adequate safe sedation such that you are completely unaware of what is happening.
Endoscopies (gastroscopies) typically take around 10 minutes to complete, however colonoscopy usually takes a little longer.