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What is an Endoscopy?

An endoscopy is a procedure conducted by gastroenterology specialists that examines either the large intestine from the rectum (lower endoscopy) or the esophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine from your mouth. This non-invasive procedure involves the insertion of a thin, flexible endoscope into your digestive system to examine tissue and diagnose conditions. There are many different types of endoscopy procedures, some of the most common ones which we will cover today.

Getting an endoscopy can sound like an uncomfortable experience, but it’s a normal, relatively painless procedure that can help identify gastrointestinal issues such as ulcers, inflammation, and tumors. It is more effective than X-rays at detecting abnormal growths, and is more reliable for identifying cancer in both the upper and lower digestive system.

If you live in or near Northeastern Pennsylvania, and would like to schedule an appointment with a gastroenterology specialist, contact Northeastern Gastroenterology Associates today. We have convenient offices located in Honesdale, Blakely and Dingman's Ferry.

Do You Need an Endoscopy?

The first endoscope was developed by Philipp Bozzini in Mainz in 1806, but it wasn’t for another hundred years that it became routinely performed in human patients. Today, endoscopy is used to evaluate conditions such as:

  • Polyps

  • Digestive tract bleeding

  • Stomach pain

  • Ulcers

  • And more

A gastroenterology specialist may also conduct a biopsy (removal of tissue) to look for the presence of a disease under a microscope. When you visit our gastroenterology center, we may recommend an endoscopy for a number of different reasons. For example:

  • To diagnose a disease or discover the cause of symptoms

  • To screen for cancer (a colonoscopy, for example, is largely focused on identifying colorectal cancer or early warnings of it)

  • To treat certain conditions — gastroenterologists use endoscopes to conduct a number of treatments, such as:

Types of Endoscopy

Here are some of the most common types of endoscopy and what they are used to examine:


Sigmoidoscopies are minimally invasive medical examinations of the large intestine through the anus. There are two types of sigmoidoscopy — flexible and rigid. Flexible sigmoidoscopies are used to detect and treat things such as rectal bleeding, polyps, fissures, foreign bodies, and colorectal cancer. A flexible sigmoidoscopy is not an alternative to getting a colonoscopy. Rigid sigmoidoscopies may be suitable for diagnosing ano-rectal diseases. A sigmoidoscopy is often conducted without any sedation, though sometimes it can be used if necessary. Sigmoidoscopies are often used as a pre-test that then leads to a full colonoscopy, to examine the entire colon for polyps, damage, or cancerous tissue.

Learn more about flexible sigmoidoscopy...

Upper Endoscopy

An upper endoscopy examines the upper part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, including the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (upper section of the small intestine). The endoscope with a video camera and light at the end is used to evaluate symptoms such as:

  • Upper abdominal pain

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Difficulty swallowing

Upper endoscopies tend to be conducted under sedation, to assure patients maximum comfort during the procedure. An upper endoscopy can also be used to conduct biopsies as well as cytology tests. Cytology tests involve the collection of cells and then the examination and analysis of them in the lab.


Colonoscopies are also a form of endoscopy. This procedure examines the lining of the large intestine, small intestine, and rectum for signs of damaged or potentially cancerous tissues. Colonoscopies can detect and treat conditions such as:

Learn more about colonoscopies...


Enteroscopy is primarily used to identify the source of intestinal bleeding. There are a number of different procedures that fall into the category of enteroscopy. One such procedure is capsule endoscopy. This is where the patient swallows a pill-sized video capsule with a light source, allowing your gastroenterology specialist to have pictures from within your digestive tract to get a better idea of what and where your gastrointestinal issues lay.

Learn more about capsule endoscopies…

Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)

An endoscopic ultrasound is where a flexible endoscope with a small ultrasound device at the end of it is used to see the lining of the stomach, small intestine, colon, or esophagus. It provides your gastroenterologist with detailed pictures of the anatomy of your digestive tract, and can be used to evaluate abnormalities below the surface. An EUS is very useful for keeping track of growth, determining the nature of issues, and helping your doctor decide on the best treatment to take.

Learn more about endoscopic ultrasounds...

Other Types of Endoscopy

There are countless other types of endoscopy — we’ve only covered a few of the more common ones today. Others include:

  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

  • Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG)

  • Esophagoscopy

  • Laryngoscopy

  • Proctoscopy

  • Thoracoscopy

  • Cystoscopy

  • Anoscopy

  • Bronchoscopy

  • And countless more

How to Prepare for an Endoscopy

If you are coming in to Northeastern Gastroenterology Associates for an endoscopy of some kind, we will give you specific instructions to prepare before your appointment. In general, steps we will usually recommend include:

  • Avoid drinking or eating for several hours before the procedure

  • Take a laxative or use an enema, in certain cases

  • Stop taking blood-thinning medicine for several days before the procedure is scheduled to take place, to reduce the risk of bleeding.

  • Check with your insurance provider that the costs will be covered.

Interesting Facts about Endoscopy

  • Endoscopy was first designed in 1806

  • Endoscopies are quick, safe, and relatively painless procedures

  • Endoscopies are mainly used for investigation, confirmation, and for treatment

  • An endoscopy can be used to remove polyps and tumors from the digestive tract

More Information About Endoscopies

If you have scheduled or think you should schedule an endoscopy, don’t worry — this routine procedure is very safe and can give your gastroenterology specialist the information they need to give you the best care possible. If you are in or near Northeastern Pennsylvania and would like to schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist, contact Northeastern Gastroenterology Associates today. If you have any questions about endoscopies, feel free to give us a call or reach out to us online as well. We’d be glad to help!