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Many years ago, doctors were severely limited when it came to diagnosing illnesses and conditions that occurred deep within the body. Beyond actual surgery, little could be done to get an idea about what was happening inside a patient's body. X-rays, of course, can only produce images of solid objects like bones; they aren't at all useful when it comes to examining soft tissues or the internal portions of various organs in the human body. Lucky, though, the invention and evolution of the modern endoscopy has changed the way that doctors diagnose and treat patients.


Endoscopy is a broad term that encompasses many different types of procedures. "Endoscopy" means "looking inside," and the many different procedures that fall under its umbrella all involve looking inside various parts of the human body with an instrument called an endoscope. Two of the most popular types of endoscopies are the bronchoscopy and the laparoscopy. The first refers to an interior examination of the lower respiratory system; the latter refers to an interior examination of the abdominal or pelvic cavity. In both cases, an endoscope is used to allow a physician to take a closer look at those parts of the body.

The Endoscope

Regardless of where in the body an endoscopy is taking place, all endoscopies share one common trait: the use of an endoscope. While an endoscope is always used in an endoscopy, it can be made up of different components and might have one of several different possible configurations. For instance, an endoscope might include:

What Are Endoscopies Used For?

As mentioned previously, the two most popular types of endoscopies are the laparoscopy and the bronchoscopy. In addition to those two major and widespread endoscopies, the following types are also often used to help diagnose or rule out various conditions:

Colonoscopy - The large intestine and the colon is examined with an endoscope during this procedure, which is popularly used to screen for colon cancer.

Hysteroscopy - An examination of a woman's uterus with an endoscope is called a hysteroscopy. This procedure is often used to check for polyps and fibroids.

Arthroscopy - The interior examination of a joint is called an arthroscopy, and is typically used to perform minimally invasive surgeries on joints around the body. In this way, patients can avoid the long recovery times that are associated with major knee, elbow and other types of joint surgery.

Laparoscopies and Bronchoscopies

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