Gastrointestinal endoscopy mainly refers to the endoscopy of the stomach, large intestine, and duodenum. During the endoscopy, samples (e.g. specimens) can be taken for further examination, and various procedures can be performed as well. Endoscopy is necessary for investigative purposes because other imaging studies or tests do not provide sufficient visibility inside the intestine, and sampling is only possible through endoscopy.
Radiographic examinations have largely been left out due to the improved availability of endoscopic examinations. Endoscopy is also performed for interventional treatment of a known disease (e.g. polypectomy and hemostasis).
In gastroscopy, the physician inserts a thin flexible colonoscope into the stomach and duodenum through the mouth. Samples of the duodenum, stomach, and lower esophagus are usually taken for pathological examination. The examination and sampling typically take only a few minutes and do not cause pain. Most patients do not need any medication for the examination, however, some patients may benefit from sedatives. It is also possible to perform gastroscopy under short-term anesthesia.
Typical diseases or findings detected by gastroscopy include, for example, celiac disease, gastric ulcers, and duodenal ulcers, Helicobacter pylori infection, diaphragmatic hernia, acid reflux, and various neoplastic diseases such as gastric and esophageal cancers.
In a colonoscopy, the physician inserts a thin flexible colonoscope through the rectum, which can travel to the other end of the large intestine, and often reaches the end portion of the small intestine. Samples are taken according to the findings and queries. Various methods can be applied to the examination, the most common of which is colon polypectomy.
Typical diseases detected by colonoscopy include, for example, inflammatory bowel diseases (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease), diverticulitis (diverticula), and various tumors and polyps, such as colorectal cancer.
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
Biliary endoscopy is a procedure that can address problems identified in other examinations. The most common procedures using endoscopy through the duodenum are the removal of the bile duct and the opening of bile ducts that block cancer. Less common issues include pain problems associated with chronic pancreatitis, biliary tract infections, and dilated common bile duct and pancreatic duct. Biliary and pancreatic procedures are always performed under anesthesia for patient comfort.
Abdominal examinations at Helsinki Hospital
At Helsinki Hospital, gastrointestinal endoscopes are performed by Finnish gastrointestinal specialists with years of experience in endoscopic examinations.
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