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Endoscopy involves using an endoscope – a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny video camera and light on the end – to look inside the body. The procedure allows physicians to evaluate the lining of the upper digestive system. High-quality pictures from the endoscope are shown on a television monitor, providing a clear and detailed view of the organs.
Endoscopy is often preferable to other procedures because it enables physicians to see abnormalities such as bleeding and inflammation that don’t show up well on X-ray studies. The scope also blows air into the stomach, expanding the tissue folds and making problem areas more evident.
If anything suspicious is found during the examination, a tissue sample can be removed for biopsy. A physician can also insert instruments into the scope to treat conditions such as a bleeding ulcer.
UT Southwestern Medical Center’s physicians use advanced endoscopy to diagnose and treat conditions such as:
- Acute and chronic pancreatitis
- Benign and malignant strictures
- Complicated acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD)
- Complicated colon polyps
- Gallstones trapped in the bile ducts
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Pancreatic cysts
- Pancreatic stones
The ability to prevent disease, diagnose it early, and help patients through therapeutic endoscopy is a major goal of the Advanced Endoscopy Program at UT Southwestern. Our specialists are dedicated to providing you with attentive, cutting-edge, and personalized care in an environment that is home to one of the nation’s pre-eminent health care facilities.
Advanced endoscopy is carried out using the most advanced techniques, which include:
- Advanced imaging techniques with chromoendoscopy and narrow band imaging
- Capsule endoscopy
- Endoscopic pancreatic pseudocyst drainage
- Endoscopic resection of large segment Barrett esophagus
- Endoscopic retrograde rholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
- Endoscopic suturing using hemoclips and tissue glue
- Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)
- Endoscopic ultrasound guided tissue sampling
- Single balloon enteroscopy to evaluate conditions of the small bowel
Of these procedures, EUS and ERCP are performed on a daily basis. ERCP combines X-rays and endoscopy. After the endoscope is lowered through the stomach into the duodenum, catheters are introduced into the bile ducts and dye is injected, enabling X-rays to be taken to evaluate the ducts. ERCP is used primarily to evaluate and treat various problems of the bile ducts, including gallstones, cancer, and scarring.
EUS, in comparison, is used to diagnose tumors in the bile ducts, esophagus, liver, pancreas, and rectum. It is also used to help diagnose diseases in the lungs, mediastinum, and trachea. Therapeutic EUS is evolving and will find applications complementing ERCP in the very near future.
Research is ongoing to develop a practical endoscopic pancreas function test and to improve diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic capabilities. UT Southwestern is also developing surgical approaches through the bowel rather than through the skin.
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