+65 9638 1751

Call Us

+65 6443 3133

A Close Look at Endoscopic Surgery

Endoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive medical technique that has transformed the field of surgery. Endoscopic procedures offer patients effective treatments with reduced risks and quicker recovery times. Let’s look at what an endoscopy is, the different types of endoscopies and more.

What is Endoscopy?

Endoscopy involves the use of an endoscope to examine, diagnose and treat various medical conditions. An endoscope is a thin flexible tube with a camera and light source attached to it. As for endoscopic surgery, also known as minimally invasive surgery, this procedure only requires small incisions. This results in less trauma to the body compared to traditional open surgeries.

Types of Endoscopies

Endoscopies come in various types, each tailored to specific medical purposes. Some common ones include:

Used to picture and diagnose issues in the digestive tract, including the oesophagus, stomach, and small intestine.

A procedure for examining the colon and rectum to detect issues like polyps or colorectal cancer.

This involves inspecting the airways and lungs using a bronchoscope, helpful in diagnosing lung conditions.

Used for examining abdominal or pelvic organs, often employed in surgeries like gallbladder removal or hernia repair.

Other endoscopies include laryngoscopy, mediastinoscopy, thoracoscopy and more.

Why are Endoscopies Done?

Endoscopic procedures serve several essential purposes in medicine:

  • 1. Diagnosis

    Healthcare providers frequently use endoscopies for diagnostic purposes. They allow doctors to directly visualise and assess the interior of various organs and structures. This helps in the identification of irregularities, diseases, and conditions. Some common diagnostic endoscopies include:

  • Gastrointestinal Endoscopy: To investigate symptoms such as chronic abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, gastrointestinal bleeding, and changes in bowel habits.
  • Bronchoscopy: To evaluate lung and airway issues. These can include persistent cough and shortness of breath. Doctors can also use them to collect samples for laboratory analysis.
  • Colonoscopy: For the early detection of colorectal cancer, polyps, and other conditions affecting the colon and rectum.
  • 2. Cancer Screening

    Many endoscopic procedures are crucial for cancer screening and early detection. Regular screenings can help identify cancerous or precancerous lesions, enabling prompt intervention and improved treatment outcomes. Examples include colonoscopies for colorectal cancer screening and upper endoscopies to assess the upper gastrointestinal tract for signs of cancer.

  • 3. Treatment and Therapeutic Interventions

    Endoscopic surgery offers a minimally invasive approach to treating various medical conditions. These procedures can remove tumours, polyps, or obstructions. They can also address conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Some therapeutic endoscopies include:

  • Endoscopic Resection: Removing precancerous or cancerous growths in the digestive tract.
  • Balloon Dilation: Expanding narrowed or structured passages in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Stent Placement: Inserting stents to keep narrowed or blocked areas open in the oesophagus, colon, or other locations.
  • 4. Monitoring and Surveillance

    Patients with certain medical conditions may require regular endoscopic monitoring to assess treatment effectiveness or disease progression. For instance, individuals with Barrett's oesophagus may undergo regular endoscopies to monitor changes in the oesophagus lining.

  • 5. To Investigate Unexplained Symptoms

    In cases where individuals endure persistent symptoms without a clear diagnosis, endoscopic procedures can offer vital insights. For instance, patients with chronic cough, unexplained abdominal pain, or gastrointestinal bleeding may undergo endoscopies to identify the underlying cause.

  • 6. Therapeutic Endoscopy for Control and Relief

    Endoscopic procedures can help to control symptoms and improve a patient's quality of life. For example, endoscopic treatments can help manage gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) by preventing stomach acid from flowing into the oesophagus.

  • 7. Biopsy and Tissue Sampling

    Endoscopies allow healthcare providers to obtain tissue samples (biopsies) for laboratory analysis. This is crucial for diagnosing conditions like cancer, inflammation, and infections.

How to Prepare for an Endoscopy

Preparing for an endoscopic procedure typically involves:

  1. Fasting: In most cases, you’ll need to fast for a certain period before the procedure. This is to ensure a clear view and reduce the risk of complications.
  2. Medication Adjustments: Inform your doctor about any medications you are taking. They may need to adjust or temporarily discontinue some of them.
  3. Medical History: Provide your medical history and inform your healthcare team of any allergies or pre-existing conditions.

The Procedure

During an endoscopic procedure:

  1. Anaesthesia: Your healthcare provider may administer local anaesthesia or place you under general anaesthesia. This depends on the type and complexity of the procedure.
  2. Endoscopic Insertion: Your doctor will then carefully insert the endoscope through natural body openings or small incisions.
  3. Visual Examination: The camera on the endoscope transmits images to a monitor, allowing the doctor to visualise the affected area.
  4. Treatment or Biopsy: Depending on the diagnosis, the doctor may perform treatments or take tissue samples (biopsies).

Risks and Side Effects of Endoscopic Surgery

While endoscopic surgery is generally safe, it can have potential risks and side effects. Risk and side effects can include bleeding, infection, perforation, or adverse reactions to anaesthesia. However, these risks are relatively low compared to traditional open surgeries.

Patients need to be aware of these possibilities. Discuss them with their healthcare provider before undergoing any endoscopic procedure.

  1. Bleeding: One of the primary concerns during endoscopic procedures is the risk of bleeding. This risk typically increases when performing biopsies or therapeutic interventions like polyp removal. During the procedure, your doctor can often manage mild bleeding, but in rare cases, it may necessitate additional intervention.
  2. Infection Risk: Although healthcare providers generally perform endoscopic procedures under sterile conditions, there remains a risk of infection. Infection typically occurs at the incision site or at the location where the endoscope is inserted. Proper sterilisation protocols and antibiotic prophylaxis typically minimise this risk.
  3. Perforation: Perforation refers to unintentional puncturing or tearing of the organ or tissue under examination or treatment. This is a rare but serious complication that may require immediate surgical repair. The risk of perforation is higher in procedures involving the gastrointestinal tract, such as colonoscopies or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP).
  4. Adverse Reactions to Anesthesia: If the procedure requires anaesthesia, there is a small risk of adverse reactions. This can range from mild allergic reactions to more severe complications. During the procedure, doctors will monitor patients carefully to promptly address any issues.
  5. Discomfort or Pain: After an endoscopic procedure, patients may experience mild discomfort or soreness. This discomfort is usually temporary. You can manage them with over-the-counter pain medications or medications prescribed by your healthcare provider.
  6. Reaction to Sedation: Some patients may experience side effects such as dizziness, nausea, or grogginess after the procedure. These effects typically wear off within a few hours.


Recovery after an endoscopic procedure is typically faster than with traditional surgery. Patients may experience mild discomfort or soreness at the incision site. Patients can manage this with pain medications as prescribed. It’s essential to follow post-operative instructions, including dietary restrictions and activity limitations, as advised by your healthcare provider.

In conclusion, endoscopic surgery has emerged as a game-changer in modern medicine. Endoscopic procedures offer effective diagnostic and treatment options with fewer risks and a quicker recovery process. Whether used for gastrointestinal concerns, cancer screenings, or other medical issues, endoscopies enhance patient care while minimising the invasiveness of surgical procedures. Always consult your healthcare provider for personalised guidance on your medical needs and endoscopic procedures.s

More Info

Enquire Now

Here at KYM Surgery, we believe in providing holistic & comprehensive medical care for all patients.

Emergency Calls Medical Care 24/7

Here at KYM Surgery, we believe in providing holistic & comprehensive medical care for all patients.