Endoscopy refers primarily to colonoscopy and EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy).
The colonoscopy is a visual inspection of the colon with a lighted, flexible scope. EGD involves examining the esophagus, stomach, and first portion of the upper gastro-intestinal (GI)tract (the duodenum).
These procedures are frequently performed together under sedation as an outpatient. Patients can expect to have a prep the day before a colonoscopy, but no prep is generally necessary before an EGD.
These procedures are performed for numerous reasons, but most commonly to assess the GI tract for cancer, tumors, polyps, ulcers and sources of bleeding. In addition, generally after age 50, a preventative screening colonoscopy is recommended for most patients, although this age may vary with individual circumstances.
Both procedures are well tolerated and in most cases you can expect to be back to work or normal activities by the next day. In most cases, a regular schedule of a preventative screening colonoscopy every ten years will greatly reduce the possibility of developing colon cancer.