What Is Endoscopy?|
Endoscopy describes the means by which a surgeon can look into a body cavity using advanced fiberoptic instruments. The use of fiberoptics allows a tube-like instrument to be inserted into the body, go around bends and still provide the surgeon with a clear view of the site he/she wishes to see. This means that the surgeon can view parts of the body without having to make large cuts and in some cases without having to have any incisions.
Modern endoscopes, as opposed to instruments like cystoscopes which have been in use for decades, have certain advances making them superior. These include:
- They are multi-channeled - allowing many instruments to be inserted through one tube.
- With the use of fiberoptics, a bright light can be passed through one channel and at the same time a magnified view can be passed back up another channel.
- Lasers can be passed through - again as fibreoptics allows light to "go" around corners and bends.
- They are steerable, with controls the surgeon can make the last few centimetres of the instrument flex and rotate in any direction.
- The surgeon can flush fluids down the endoscopes - liquid or gas.
Initially, doctors only used endoscopes by entering the natural orifices of the body (ie mouth, anus, etc). However, now doctors can make incisions to insert the endoscope to view potential cavities in the body - such as that found in the abdomen! When this is done, the procedure is called a laparoscopy.