What is endoscopy?

Endoscopy is a nonsurgical procedure that allows a doctor to examine and repair internal organs by inserting a flexible tube through the mouth, other opening, or a small incision. The tube, or endoscope, is equipped with a camera and light. Endoscopy is most commonly used to diagnose and treat issues with the digestive tract. Endoscopy offers the significant benefit of treating many gastrointestinal issues without major surgery.

Types of Endoscopy

There are a variety of types of endoscopy, depending on what part of the body needs to be examined and treated.

  • EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy) involves the insertion of an endoscope down the throat and along the length of the esophagus to examine and treat the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which also includes the mouth, stomach, and small intestine.
  • ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram) combines X-rays with an upper GI endoscopy and is used to examine the pancreatic and bile ducts, as well as the gallbladder.
  • EUS (endoscopic ultrasound) combines upper endoscopy and ultrasound to examine digestive tract and chest, nearby organs and lymph nodes.
  • Colonoscopy is a screening procedure where a flexible camera is used to inspect the colon.

Why You Might Need an Endoscopy

An endoscopy may be performed to evaluate:

● stomach pain

● ulcers, gastritis or difficulty swallowing

● digestive tract bleeding

● changes in bowel

● polyps or growths in the colon

It may also be used to take biopsies, place stents or treat a digestive problem by using specialized devices with the endoscope.

What to Expect

A sedative is provided for most endoscopic examinations. General anesthesia is given only in special circumstances, such as with young children or for complex problems. Most endoscopies are outpatient procedures. Arrange for a ride home after the procedure in case of an adverse reaction to anesthesia. If a biopsy was taken during your endoscopy, it will typically take a few days before you are contacted with results, at which point your doctor will discuss with you any next steps required.


Muskegon Surgical Associates’ board-certified surgeons use endoscopy routinely to diagnose conditions and avoid major surgery when appropriate. If you have any gastrointestinal concerns, contact us to make an appointment.


Muskegon Surgical Associates