Upper endoscopy (also known as an esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD) is a diagnostic procedure used to visually examine and diagnose conditions of the upper gastrointestinal, or digestive tract. The upper gastrointestinal tract includes the esophagus, stomach and duodenum, or upper part of the small intestine. An upper endoscopy is performed using a flexible tube with an attached light and camera, called an edoscope. It is inserted through the mouth and guided along to thoroughly examine the upper gastrointestinal tract.
A colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure performed to examine the inner lining of the colon, or large intestine, and the rectum. The colonoscopy procedure is performed routinely in patients over the age of 50 as a means of detecting colorectal cancer in its early stages. It is also employed diagnostically to help determine the cause of abnormal bowel activity, abdominal pain or rectal bleeding. During a colonoscopy, tissue samples may be collected for a biopsy, and polyps or other abnormal growths may be removed.
A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a diagnostic procedure performed to examine the sigmoid, the lower and last end of the colon, also known as the descending colon. The rectum and sigmoid colon are parts of the gastrointestinal tract. The rectum is approximately six inches long and is located between the sigmoid colon and the anus. A flexible sigmoidoscopy procedure is often used to determine the cause of changes in bowel activity, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding and to investigate other gastrointestinal symptoms.
During a flexible sigmoidoscopy, images of the rectum and sigmoid colon are displayed on a screen for the doctor to examine and detect any abnormalities. This procedure can also detect early signs of cancer. A flexible sigmoidoscopy may be recommended for individuals age 50 and older, who are at risk for developing colon or rectal cancer.
A capsule endoscopy, also known as a capsule enteroscopy, is a procedure that uses a pill-sized wireless camera to visually examine the inside lining of the three portions of the small intestine, which includes the duodenum, jejunum and ileum. The camera will take a series of photographs as it passes through the gastrointestinal tract. These photographs are sent wirelessly to a small recording device that is worn on the body. The photographs are then downloaded to a computer about 24 hours after the procedure. The capsule will then be passed through the digestive tract by the patient.
While portions of the intestine can be seen during a colonoscopy or upper endoscopy procedure, these procedures are unable to provide a complete view of the small intestine. The capsule endoscopy is able to provide a view of the small intestine and is helpful in detecting some of the following conditions: Intestinal Bleeding, Polyps, Inflammatory bowel disease, tumor or celiac disease.
While this procedure can provide a more accurate and detailed result than an X-ray, a capsule endoscopy is unable to perform therapy in the area of concern. A capsule endoscopy is rapidly improving technology that is making conditions of the small intestine much easier to diagnose.