Diagnostic digestive endoscopy tests

What is it?

The digestive endoscopy is aimed at visualizing, through an instrument equipped with a camera, the internal surface of some organs of the digestive system such as the stomach or the colon. This method allows to recognize and eventually treat some gastroenterological pathologies. The main examinations of digestive endoscopy are gastroscopy, aimed at the study of esophagus, stomach and duodenum and colonoscopy that instead allows to see the colon and the final segment of the small intestine (ileum).  

When is this exam indicated?

Endoscopic examinations are recommended in cases of symptoms or clinical signs that indicate a pathology of the digestive system, or for prevention of certain conditions that can be recognized and treated at an early stage, such as colon cancer. In some cases, it is also possible to perform endoscopic procedures without the need for surgery, such as achalasia or Zenker's diverticulum.

How is it performed?

The digestive endoscopy is practiced by means of specific instruments called endoscopes, consisting of a flexible tube about 1 cm thick and of variable length depending on the type of examination, which are inserted into the natural cavities of the digestive system, namely the mouth and the anus. These flexible tubes contain inside structures that can introduce air or water inside the organ to be studied or suck the liquid and are equipped with a camera at the end that allows to inspect the mucosa and acquire images to record the visualization. Generally, these procedures are performed by administering sedative drugs that allow the patient to bear the examination without pain or discomfort.


Digestive endoscopy examinations are invasive examinations and therefore those who undergo them may encounter complications, although rarely. Among these, the most common are perforation and bleeding. It is therefore very important to evaluate the correct indication for the examination, considering for each patient whether the risk of undergoing the procedure is not higher than the benefit obtained. Other possible complications during digestive endoscopy are those related to sedation, which can be minimized if the patient is properly assessed prior to the examination, based on risk factors such as the presence of major cardiac or respiratory diseases.

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