The word “endoscopy” comes from the Greek and is translated from the two words “inside” (endon) and “observe” (skopein). As the word suggests, endoscopy is a medical procedure that uses a special device – the endoscope – to look inside body cavities and hollow organs. This procedure, also known as endoscopy, enables the physician to examine the examined body cavities or hollow organs, to recognize any existing diseases there and possibly even to treat them on the spot during the endoscopy.
In addition to an optical system (camera) and a cold light source, the device (endoscope) also has flexible and rigid tools for treatment. In general, a distinction is made between a rigid, non-moving endoscope (e.g. arthroscope for arthroscopy of joints) and a flexible, moving endoscope (e.g. endoscope for gastrointestinal endoscopy) and between purely diagnostic endoscopy (for diagnosis and taking tissue samples) and therapeutic endoscopy (for interventions, also known as minimally invasive surgery).
The indications for endoscopy can generally be divided into four large groups: on the one hand, endoscopy is mainly used for diagnostic purposes. During the examination, the attending physician can examine the respective organ or body cavity and – if necessary – take tissue samples (biopsies), so that a precise diagnosis can be made afterwards. Classically, this is used, for example, for the early detection of cancer or other internal diseases (e.g. inflammation, injuries, etc.).
On the other hand, endoscopy is also used for therapeutic purposes so that tumors, polyps, mucus or secretions, foreign bodies or stones can be removed, bleeding stopped, constrictions widened and materials inserted. Furthermore, endoscopy can also be used for planning prior to an operation, so that, for example, the exact location and extent of the expansion of a tumor can be determined before an operation. Finally, an endoscopy also serves as a possibility for tumor aftercare, in order to be able to detect possible recurrences or other tumor formation at an early stage. Endoscopy can be used in the following areas: Lungs, esophagus and gastrointestinal tract, thoracic cavity, abdominal cavity, renal pelvis, bladder and ureter, joints, uterus and fallopian tubes, nose and sinuses, larynx and auditory canal/middle ear.