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What Is the Difference Between Endoscopy and Esophagoscopy?

Esophagoscopy is nothing but a small part of endoscopy. It is a simple and effective way to assess symptoms such as upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, reflux, difficulty swallowing, or weight loss.

Endoscopy is a procedure that allows a doctor to view the inside parts of the body such as the esophagus (food pipe), stomach, colon (gut/bowel), nose, throat, urinary tract, and abdominal organs. In this procedure, the doctor inserts a long, thin tube with a fiber-optic camera and the light at the tip (endoscope) into the patient’s body through their mouth, anus, or other openings. The endoscope allows the doctor to see in detail and investigate any disease in the organs.

Endoscopy may sometimes be combined with an ultrasound (endoscopic ultrasound) that creates specialized images of certain organs. It allows the doctor to reach inaccessible organs such as the pancreas.

Esophagoscopy is nothing but a small part of endoscopy. It is a simple and effective way to assess symptoms such as upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, reflux, difficulty swallowing, or weight loss. In an esophagoscopy, only the esophagus is examined.

The main differences between endoscopy and esophagoscopy are as follows:

  • Sedation: The difference between an endoscopy and esophagoscopy is that in endoscopy, the patient needs to be sedated, which increases the risk of complications, whereas an esophagoscopy is usually performed without sedation. The doctor administers numbing spray to improve patient comfort and tolerance. Very rarely, they use general anesthesia in patients who are difficult to sedate or have breathing difficulty. In the United State, the doctor generally performs an endoscopy with moderate sedation by administering a combination of a narcotic and benzodiazepine.
  • Incision: An endoscopy sometimes may require an incision to insert the endoscope, whereas an esophagoscopy is a type of endoscopy that doesn't require incisions.
  • Instrument: Endoscopy and esophagoscopy are mostly performed with similar types of instruments. In an endoscopy, the length and flexibility of the endoscope selected depend on the part of the body that the doctor needs to see. For example, the doctor can look at the joints using a straight endoscope, and they can look inside the colon using a flexible endoscope. In an esophagoscopy, the doctor uses a similar type of flexible scope (endoscope/esophagoscope).
  • Insertion: The doctor performs an esophagoscopy by inserting an esophagoscope into the upper part of the patient’s digestive system through their mouth. However, depending on the part of the body under examination, the doctor may perform different types of endoscopy through:
    • Mouth (to view the upper part of their digestive system) known as
      • Esophagoscopy (involves examining the food pipe).
      • Gastroscopy (involves examining the stomach).
      • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (involves examining the food pipe, stomach, and first part of the bowel).
      • Enteroscopy (involves examining the gut).
    • Anus (to view the lower part of their digestive system) known as
      • Anoscopy (involves examining the anus).
      • Sigmoidoscopy (involves examining the entire rectum [end of the large bowel] and sigmoid colon [last section of the bowel]).
      • Proctosigmoidoscopy (involves examining the rectum and sigmoid colon).
      • Colonoscopy (involves examining the entire gut).
    • Stoma (openings) in the body.
  • Parts under examination: Through an endoscopy, the doctor can look at all the structures of the patient’s body from the joint spaces to the entire digestive tract. It is threaded through to the duodenum (first part of the gut) and into the ducts. The doctor performs an esophagoscopy to assess the inside of the patient’s esophagus using an endoscope. It allows visualization of the moist esophageal mucosa (inner lining of the food pipe) from the esophageal sphincter (upper part of the throat) to an esophagogastric junction (where the throat attaches to the stomach). However, commonly, an esophagoscopy is not often performed alone. It is generally performed as part of the procedure to assess the upper digestive tract more completely including the esophagus, stomach, and portions of the gut.

During both procedures, the surgeon/doctor may remove a piece of the polyp, organ, or cancer tissue (biopsy) to investigate the illness further or remove the tumor to treat. They may send these samples to the laboratory for investigation. The patient may have an endoscopy and esophagoscopy on the same day.

When will the doctor suggest an endoscopy and esophagoscopy?

The doctor may recommend an endoscopy to: 

  • Diagnose the cause of:
    • Abdominal pain such as
      • Inflammation of the esophagus, stomach, colon, gallbladder, and pancreas.
      • Ulcerations in the stomach, esophagus, and colon
      • Insufficient blood supply to the gut leads to dead bowel
      • Obstruction due to a tumor, hernia (protrusion of an organ), volvulus (colon twisting), and intussusception (sliding of the colon)
    • Digestive tract bleeding due to:
      • Infection
      • Inflammation
      • Cancerous growth
      • Trauma
      • Dilated blood vessels
  • Screen, evaluate, and prevent:
    • Cancer related to the gut and large bowel
    • Familial disease where a person gets polyps in the gut, which are potentially cancerous
  • Treat
    • Bleeding
    • Remove polyps (growth), tumor, or lesion

The doctor may recommend an esophagoscopy to:

What are the complications of an esophagoscopy?

Complications of an esophagoscopy include:

What are the complications of an endoscopy?

An endoscopy is generally a safe procedure, but it may have complications such as:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Tear in the gut wall
  • Reaction to sedation
  • Infection of the pancreas
  • Brown-colored vomiting
  • Black-colored stool

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