Bronchoscopy

A medical procedure, Bronchoscopy involves the examination of air passages for detecting a variety of respiratory disorders including malignant ones such as lung cancer. Body parts that are analyzed during the procedure include your throat, trachea (windpipe), larynx (voice box) and airways. The test is carried out with the help of a bronchoscope which consists of a flexible tube, approximately two feet long and half an inch wide. A light and camera is often attached to the tube, allowing doctors to properly analyze the insides of the lungs.

During the procedure, the bronchoscope is gently pushed down the trachea via the patient’s mouth or nose to reach the insides of the lungs. A local anesthetic is typically used for the nose, throat and mouth. The anesthetic eases the throat muscles, allowing the tube to pass through smoothly. Initially, the patient may experience some discomfort such coughing or gagging, but these feelings subside soon after.

Once the anesthetic has taken effect, the doctor guides the tube towards the lungs. To remove loose tissues from the lungs, a saline solution is often injected through the tube. When the solution is vacuumed out, it collects tissues, fluids and any other material that might be present inside the patient’s lungs. These are later examined by doctors to check for potential damages to the lung tissues.

Doctors use bronchoscopy for many different purposes. For example, blockage in the lungs or trachea that can lead to breathing problems can be diagnosed through bronchoscopy. It can also be used for collecting samples from affected areas detected during X-rays or CAT scans. Samples including lung cells and surrounding mucus, collected during bronchoscopy, allow doctors to accurately diagnose serious medical conditions such as lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Brachytherapy is a new method of bronchoscopy, which allows treatment to be administered directly to cancerous lung tissues. During brachytherapy, radioactive materials are applied directly on or near cancerous tissues or tumors.


Laparoscopy

Laparoscopy is similar to bronchoscopy, but targets a totally different section of the body. In laparoscopy, a tube with an attached light and camera is used for examining body parts in the pelvic and abdominal region such as the bowels, appendix, liver, and gall bladder. Laparoscopy is used for examining the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and the uterus in female patients. The procedure also helps detect and diagnose cysts, fibroids and infections that occur in the female reproductive system. Other medical conditions that can be detected using laparoscopy include ectopic pregnancy, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, appendicitis and pelvic inflammatory diseases.

In laparoscopy, a small incision is made in the abdomen for inserting the tube. General anesthesia is typically used during the procedure. However, in certain rare cases, local anesthesia might be administered. A small incision is made below the navel, after which a needle is inserted into the cut. After this, carbon dioxide (CO2) gas is forced into the area by the surgeon to push back the organs and the abdominal walls, making way for the tube and providing it with a clear passage. The process can be repeated and more incisions can be made in case the surgeon needs a clearer view of specific areas or organs.

For minor surgeries in the abdominal region, Laparoscopy provides an effective alternative to Laparotomy, a more expensive medical procedure. Common laparoscopy procedures include tubal ligation and hernia surgery (inguinal or hiatal). The patient is usually not admitted for laparoscopy procedures, which saves time and costs associated with overnight stay in a hospital.

Lumps or other abnormalities in the abdominal region, as detected during imaging tests, can be examined in more detail using laparoscopy. The scope collects tissue samples, which are later examined to check for the organ’s susceptibility to risks associated with cancer and other diseases. Laparoscopy can also be used as a surgical tool for removing the tumor or a part of it from the affected region. Ovaries, gall bladder, appendix and spleen are other body parts that can be examined, treated and potentially removed using the laparoscopy procedure.

Endoscopy

Endoscopy is a generic term, typically used for describing medical procedures that examine internal organs with the aid of tubes, lights and cameras. This procedure is often used in diagnosis of pleural mesothelomia. Upper GI Endoscopy or Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) is a special type of endoscopy that involves the examination of the upper gastrointestinal tract. This tract includes organs such as the esophagus, the stomach and the duodenum (the starting point of the small intestine).

The upper GI endoscopy is usually carried out on an outpatient basis, similar to laparoscopy. Local anesthesia is used for the throat in upper GI endoscopy (similar to bronchoscopy). The anesthesia reduces discomfort when the tube is pushed down the patient’s esophagus to reach the duodenum via the stomach. In endoscopy, special tools can be attached to the tube, which can be used for varied purposes such as taking tissue samples, removing malignant tumors, and closing up wounds that may result in internal bleeding. Various diseases of the intestines, esophagus and stomach can be diagnosed using upper GI endoscopy. The procedure can also help doctors gain a better understanding of intestinal polyps, ulcers and stomach cancer.

“Lower GI Endoscopy” or “colonoscopy” is the second special endoscopic procedure. In colonoscopy, the tube is passed through the rectum for examining vital parts such as the colon and the rectum that make up the large intestine. This is different from the upper GI endoscopy wherein the tube is inserted through the mouth for examining the upper gastrointestinal tract. An effective tool that allows for early diagnosis and timely treatment of colon cancer, a colonoscopy test is usually prescribed for individuals in the high risk category such as older male patients. Using this procedure, surgeons can take out polyp samples from the rectum, colon and the large intestine. These can later be examined to determine the presence of malignant tumors.

 

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