Endoscopy (en-DAHS-kuh-pee) is a medical procedure done with an instrument called an endoscope (EN-duh-skop). The endoscope is put into the body to look inside, and is sometimes used for certain kinds of surgery.
Looking with an endoscope is different from using imaging tests, like x-rays and CT scans, which can get pictures of the inside the body without putting tools or devices into it.
There are many different kinds of endoscopes, or “scopes.” Most are like thin, hollow tubes that a doctor uses to look right into the body. Most are lighted, and some have a small video camera on the end that puts pictures on a computer screen. Endoscopes are different lengths and shapes. Some are stiff, while others are flexible. There’s a new one small enough to be swallowed, which can send images wirelessly. Each type is specially designed for looking at a certain part of the body.
Depending on the area of the body being looked at, the endoscope may be put in the mouth, anus, or urethra (your-EE-thruh) (the tube that carries urine out of the bladder). Sometimes, it’s put through a small incision (cut) made in the skin.