Also called gastro-duodenal fibroscopy, “upper” digestive fibroscopy is an examination that allows visualizing the inside of the upper digestive tract (esophagus, stomach, duodenum) thanks to the introduction of a flexible tube called fibroscope or endoscope. We can also talk about gastroscope (and gastroscopy).
Endoscopy can also involve the “lower” digestive tract, i.e. the colon and rectum (this is called colonoscopy and the probe is inserted through the anus).
The fibroscope (or video endoscope) is a medical instrument composed of optical fibers (or optoelectronic components), a light source, and a camera. The fibroscope also has an operator channel, through which the doctor can perform samples and small therapeutic gestures such as cauterization. At its end, the fibroscope can describe a rotation of 360 degrees.
Why perform digestive fibroscopy?
Digestive fibroscopy is performed to diagnose a digestive disease, monitor its evolution, or treat it. For example, the doctor will use this test in the following cases:
- in case of digestive bleeding, pain, or persistent digestive disorders
- to look for inflammatory lesions (esophagitis, gastritis, etc.)
- to look for a stomach or duodenal ulcer
- to detect cancerous lesions (the doctor can then perform a biopsy: removal of a piece of tissue for analysis)
- or to stretch or widen a narrowed area of the esophagus (stenosis).
The examination is performed while the patient is placed under general anesthesia or under local anesthesia. In this case, it is a question of spraying a local anesthetic in the throat, so as to avoid any unpleasant sensations related to the passage of the fibroscope.
The patient lies on his left side and holds a cannula in his mouth that guides the fibroscope into the esophagus. The doctor inserts the fibroscope into the patient’s mouth, asking him, if he is awake, to swallow. The device does not interfere with breathing.
During the examination, the air is blown in to unfold the walls. The entire surface of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum becomes visible.
If deemed necessary, the doctor may take samples.
What results can we expect from a digestive fibroscopy?
Digestive fibroscopy helps the doctor make a diagnosis by having visual access to the digestive tract.
If he removes tissue fragments, he will have to analyze them and make a diagnosis based on the results. Other tests may be ordered in case of abnormality.
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