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What are the different types of endoscopes and what are they used for?

Gastroenterology

I’m confused by the different types of endoscopes. What are the conditions do these different endoscopes detect?

DOCTOR’S ANSWER (1)

Hi Ding Lee,

Endoscopy is a technique widely employed by different medical specialties to investigate problems arising from the different organ systems in our body. These organ systems include the nose & throat by ENT specialists, the urinary tract by urologists and most common of all, the digestive tract by gastroenterologists.

So it is understandable to get a little mixed up with the different types of endoscopes available. I will highlight the commonly used endoscopes below and try to explain more on their functions. 

Routine gastroscopes used for the upper digestive tract, for example, can help to diagnose stomach ulcers, inflammation, tumour growth and to arrest bleeding from ulcers.

Colorectal cancer, being the no. 1 cancer in Singaporean males, can be detected accurately and even effectively prevented through the use of colonoscopy and the removal of polyps.

Besides the routine endoscopes, specialised endoscopes are used to diagnose and treat different and more complex digestive diseases.

Some different types of specialised endoscopes and its functions:

  • Ultrasonic endoscope (EUS scope) - This can detect growth outside the digestive tract and obtain tissue for diagnosis through fine needle aspiration.

endoscopy singapore

Bile duct stone seen under EUS

  • Duodenoscope (ERCP scope) - This used to remove stones from and to insert stents into the bile duct.

endoscopy singapore

Bile duct stone removed by ERCP

  • Balloon enteroscope (single or double balloon enteroscope) is for conditions located deeper in the small intestine normally out of reach of the routine endoscopes.
  • Video Capsule Endoscope (VCE) is a wireless, self-powered camera system which one swallows to investigate problems in the small and large intestines.

All of these endoscopes are designed for very different and specific purposes. Selection of the right tool will be determined by the objective of the examination and underlying medical conditions.

In general, specialised endoscopes are operated by Interventional Endoscopists who are trained to handle them safely and effectively while routine gastroscopes and colonoscopes can be operated by most digestive surgeons and gastroenterologists.

If you have a digestive condition which you think may benefit from an endoscopy, consider getting a formal advice from your gastroenterologist to determine the approach which suits you best.

631 views 31 Aug 2018
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