ORLANDO, Fla. -- Endoscopy is a medical technique that doctors use to detect and treat certain conditions without major surgery. The popularity of these procedures has surged in recent years, and, that's a good thing.
What used to be major surgery is now a lot easier thanks to this thin device. An endoscope lets surgeons see inside your body. It's placed through a natural opening, like your mouth or anus. But these procedures don't just diagnose medical conditions.
"There's been an evolution in endoscopy and increasingly now it's being used as a therapy," explained Robert Hawes, MD, Florida Hospital for Minimally Invasive Therapy.
Endoscopic procedures are now used to spot and treat conditions like: non-cancerous polyps, Barrett's esophagus, bile duct stones, and gastric cancer. Last year, about 75 million endoscopies were performed. Sixty eight percent of them were gastrointestinal procedures. Benefits for the patient include an easier recovery, no visible scar, and usually no hospital stay. And there's more ...
"The cost savings is substantial," continued Dr. Hawes.
For instance: the cost of removing benign colon polyps is four to five times lower if it's done endoscopically. Proving this scope can save money and recovery time.
The chance of serious complications with endoscopy are low. But possible risks include infection, piercing an organ, and bleeding.
Endoscopy: Benefits of the Scope