AskDefine | Define endoscopy

Dictionary Definition

endoscopy n : visual examination of the interior of a hollow body organ by use of an endoscope

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. the examination of a bodily orifice, canal or organ using an endoscope


examination using an endoscope

Extensive Definition

Endoscopy means looking inside and typically refers to looking inside the body for medical reasons using an instrument called an endoscope. Endoscopy can also refer to using a borescope in technical situations where direct line-of-sight observation is not feasible.


Endoscopy is a minimally invasive diagnostic medical procedure that is used to assess the interior surfaces of an organ by inserting a tube into the body. The instrument may have a rigid or flexible tube and not only provide an image for visual inspection and photography, but also enable taking biopsies and retrieval of foreign objects. Endoscopy is the vehicle for minimally invasive surgery.
Many endoscopic procedures are considered to be relatively painless and, at worst, associated with mild discomfort; for example, in esophagogastroduodenoscopy, most patients tolerate the procedure with only topical anaesthesia of the oropharynx using lignocaine spray. Complications are not common (only 5% of all operations) but can include perforation of the organ under inspection with the endoscope or biopsy instrument. If that occurs open surgery may be required to repair the injury.


An endoscope can consist of
  • a rigid or flexible tube
  • a light delivery system to illuminate the organ or object under inspection. The light source is normally outside the body and the light is typically directed via an optical fiber system
  • a lens system transmitting the image to the viewer from the fiberscope
  • an additional channel to allow entry of medical instruments or manipulators


Endoscopy can involve


The first endoscope, of a kind, was developed in 1806 by Philip Bozzini with his introduction of a "Lichtleiter" (light conductor) "for the examinations of the canals and cavities of the human body". However, the Vienna Medical Society disapproved of such curiosity. An endoscope was first introduced into a human in 1822 by William Beaumont, an army surgeon at Mackinac Island, Michigan. The use of electric light was a major step in the improvement of endoscopy. The first such lights were external. Later, smaller bulbs became available making internal light possible, for instance in a hysteroscope by Charles David in 1908. Hans Christian Jacobaeus has been given credit for early endoscopic explorations of the abdomen and the thorax with laparoscopy (1912) and thoracoscopy (1910). Laparoscopy was used in the diagnosis of liver and gallbladder disease by Heinz Kalk in the 1930s. Hope reported in 1937 on the use of laparoscopy to diagnose ectopic pregnancy. In 1944, Raoul Palmer placed his patients in the Trendelenburg position after gaseous distention of the abdomen and thus was able to reliably perform gynecologic laparoscopy.


  • Infection
  • Punctured organs
  • Allergic reactions due to Contrast agents or dyes (such as those used in a CT scan)
  • Over-sedation

After the endoscopy

After the procedure the patient will be observed and monitored by a qualified individual in the endoscopy or a recovery area until a significant portion of the medication has worn off. Occasionally a patient is left with a mild sore throat, which promptly responds to saline gargles, or a feeling of distention from the insufflated air that was used during the procedure. Both problems are mild and fleeting. When fully recovered, the patient will be instructed when to resume his/her usual diet (probably within a few hours) and will be allowed to be taken home. Because of the use of sedation, most facilities mandate that the patient is taken home by another person and not to drive on his/her own or handle machinery for the remainder of the day.

Recent developments

With the application of robotic systems, telesurgery was introduced as the surgeon could operate from a site physically removed from the patient. The first transatlantic surgery has been called the Lindbergh Operation.



Bittner JG, et al. Resident training in flexible gastrointestinal endoscopy: a review of current issues and options. J Surg Educ. 2007 Nov-Dec;64(6):399-409. PMID: 18063277

External links

endoscopy in Czech: Endoskopický nástroj
endoscopy in German: Endoskop
endoscopy in Turkish: Endoskopi
endoscopy in Spanish: Endoscopia
endoscopy in Esperanto: Endoskopio
endoscopy in Basque: Endoskopia
endoscopy in French: Endoscopie
endoscopy in Italian: Endoscopia
endoscopy in Hebrew: אנדוסקופיה
endoscopy in Dutch: Endoscopie
endoscopy in Japanese: 内視鏡
endoscopy in Pushto: اېنډوسکوپي
endoscopy in Polish: Endoskopia
endoscopy in Portuguese: Endoscopia
endoscopy in Russian: Эндоскопия
endoscopy in Finnish: Tähystys
endoscopy in Swedish: Endoskopi
endoscopy in Telugu: ఎండోస్కోపీ
endoscopy in Ukrainian: Ендоскопія
endoscopy in Chinese: 內視鏡
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