What’s the Difference Between Endoscopy and Colonoscopy?

What’s the difference between endoscopy and colonoscopy? Number one, a colonoscopy is a type of endoscopy, but the similarity really stops there. There are many kinds of endoscopies to detect disease and for treatment purposes. A colonoscopy is just one.

endoscopy deviceValue of Endoscopies

All types of endoscopies are non-surgical procedures used to examine someone’s digestive tract and other areas of the body using a thin flexible tube with a lighted camera at the end.  During an upper endoscopy the endoscope is inserted through your mouth and looks at the stomach, esophagus, small intestine, and throat.

A colonoscopy enters through the rectum to examine the lower part of your digestive tract, namely, the large intestine (colon) and rectum. This is the gold standard of colon cancer detection. It allows our doctors to get a detailed look at the rectum and the entire large intestine. All colon cancers begin as pre-cancerous polyps, and the gastroenterologist can remove all polys during the colonoscopy to prevent cancer from growing. By age 45 it is recommended that everyone should get a colonoscopy screening for colon cancer.

While an endoscopy is happening, the doctor can view images on a TV monitor.

Patients are mildly sedated so they feel no pain and are virtually oblivious to what is happening.

An Endoscopy Does More Than Just Look

There are additional treatment options doctors can perform during an endoscopy:

  • Can take a biopsy to determine if tissue is diseased
  • Can detect bleeding from an ulcer, and can use tools through the endoscope to stop the bleeding
  • Polyps can be removed through the scope to be biopsied
  • Gallstones that have passed outside the gallbladder and into the bile duct can be removed

Why You Might Need One

If you are having unknown stomach pain, or changes in bowel habits like chronic diarrhea or constipation, might recommend an endoscopy. Digestive tract bleeding, gastritis, or if you are having difficulty swallowing would be other reasons to have an endoscopy.

Making Endoscopy More Comfortable

There are various advances to help patients be more comfortable during an endoscopy. One such is known as Capsule Endoscopy. A capsule the size of a vitamin is swallowed and inside the capsule is a camera. As it passes through the area of your body to be studied, it takes the needed pictures.

General surgeons Dr. John (Trey) Robertson  and Dr. Michael Cutshall of Premier Surgical Lawson Group in Johnson City, TN, regularly perform endoscopic and colonoscopy procedures.  If you are having unusual gastrointestinal symptoms or it’s time to schedule your colonoscopy, call Premier Surgical Lawson Group at (423) 975-5650.