An endoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure used to observe the inside of the patient’s body. An endoscope, a thin and flexible instrument equipped with a light and camera, is inserted through the mouth or anus, and used to take live images of the internal organs, which are then displayed on a monitor.

An endoscopy is also conducted to extract samples for imaging and biopsy tests, as well as perform minor surgeries such as polyp removal. It is a relatively safe and painless procedure sometimes performed under sedation.

Why does a person need it?

An endoscopy is useful for both diagnosing and treating a condition while simultaneously avoiding invasive procedures like open surgery. A colorectal surgeon may order an endoscopy for the following reasons:

  • To determine the root cause of abnormal symptoms
  • To help the doctor better assess the condition of internal organs
  • To extract tissue samples for further laboratory testing (biopsy)
  • To perform surgical procedures such as ulcer treatment or gallstone and polyp removal

Endoscopies are typically performed alongside other imaging and blood tests.

What are possible risks?

An endoscopy is very safe, but as with any medical procedure, it does have risks involved, usually depending on the type of endoscopy being performed. These include:

  • pain in the endoscopy site
  • swelling in incision site (for laparoscopies)
  • bleeding
  • infections
  • perforations or tears (particularly in the gastrointestinal tract)
  • reaction to sedatives
  • fever

The occurrence of complications is rare, as risks can be easily avoided with proper care and precaution before and after an endoscopy.

What to do before an Endoscopy procedure

As a minimally invasive procedure, an endoscopy normally takes less than an hour to complete. It does not require an overnight stay at the hospital, and some may be performed without sedation.

For most types of endoscopies, the patient is advised to fast for 12 hours before the procedure. Liquids may be allowed until two hours before the operation, depending on the type of endoscopy.

For patients who are going to have their gastrointestinal tract examined, they will be prescribed laxatives or enemas to help clear the bowels before the endoscopy. Any medications being currently taken, allergies and other conditions should be disclosed to the doctor to allow for certain adjustments in the endoscopy, if necessary.

Ho Kok Sun Colorectal specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of various colorectal conditions including colorectal cancer through minimally invasive methods such as endoscopy, laparoscopy and robotic surgery. To book an appointment with Dr. Ho Kok Sun, please call 6737-2778.