Endoscopy vs Gastroscopy
One of the most important tools in the modern clinician’s arsenal is the imaging device. There are many imaging devices using a multitude of techniques, but the use of the devices, which use normal vision to view structures is the most important. It provides us with the actual appearance of anatomical structures, while in their normal and physiological phase, without being altered through biopsy or surgery. These devices help in the process of diagnosis through investigations to visualize and specify areas for biopsy. They also help in the process of surgical management to treat or palliate conditions. During follow up, this is one of the few direct methods of confirming the non recurrence of an illness. Thus, in using an endoscope, we introduce a small fiber optic camera into an opening, natural or artificial, to observe the structures within. The topic of this sections discussion will be based on the techniques, areas observed, interventions performed and complications involved in the two different techniques; Endoscopy and Gastroscopy.
Endoscopy is a term, which encompasses a large variety of techniques. It is used to observe the inner compartments of the human body. The constellation of techniques can be divided mainly as natural portals of entry and artificial portals of entry. The natural portals would be the gastrointestinal tract and respiratory tract. The artificial openings would be used in laparoscopy; viewing a joint is through arthroscopy. This is considered as an invasive procedure, thus require investigations to assess the adequacy of the person to withstand this procedure, and depending on the cavity involved there are several preparatory steps may or may not be needed. The complications involved range from accidental rupture of another structure, nerve damage, haemorrhage to visceral contamination, also introduction of infection to another site.
Gastroscopy is also called upper gastro intestinal endoscopy or oesophageo gastro duodenoscopy. Here, it is specifically used to look at the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum. The intentions are to look for pathology, to obtain a biopsy, and in treatments such as banding and sclerotherapy. This is again invasive, and preparations are taken to prevent complications by investigations, and by dietary preparation by fasting for an adequate time. This technique can be enhanced by attaching an ultrasound probe, and by making a side viewing camera for the common bile duct in the 2nd part of the duodenum. The complications are most of the time limited to sore throat for some, and loss of gag reflex for a short duration. Rarely, there may be a complication such as perforated oesophagus or stomach.
What is the difference between Endoscopy and Gastroscopy?
1. Gastroscopy is a small part in endoscopy. Where endoscopy looks at all the structures of the human body from joint spaces to the lower intestines, gastroscopy only involves the upper GI tract.
2. Endoscopy may involve incisions made for an artificial orifice, and gastroscopy utilizes the natural opening: the mouth.
3. Gastroscopy procedures are accomplished with local anaesthesia and sedation, whereas endoscopy may require general anaesthesia.
4. Complications of gastroscopy are very limited, but those of endoscopy may extend to a wider scope.
5. Both these use similar technologies and both can be enhanced with ultrasound or other utility.
6. Both are invasive conditions and carry the risk of infection. Both are used for various indications from investigation to palliation.
7. Gastroscopy is one of the commonest types of endoscopy techniques used, and relatively safe in the hands of a professional. The two are not separate entities, but a variable within a larger variable.