What is advanced endoscopy?
Recent advances in endoscopy enable our pediatric GI team to avoid surgery for diagnosing and treating several conditions that once required it. Minimally invasive endoscopic procedures can enable shorter hospital stays, quicker recoveries, and better overall outcomes. Stanford Children’s extraordinary focus on endoscopic treatments for children gives us key clinical advantages over other centers where their adult-focused endoscopy teams treat even their youngest patients.
An endoscope is a long, thin, flexible tool with a tiny video camera and light source on one end. It can be passed into the GI tract through the mouth or the rectum to examine and diagnose gastrointestinal conditions. The endoscope can also be equipped with tiny tools that enable physicians to take biopsies, drain fluids, insert stents, and conduct other medical procedures. Some of these treatments can even reach outside the gastrointestinal tract to examine and treat lymph nodes, for example, or to drain fluid that has collected in or around the pancreas.
Endoscopy is any minimally invasive medical procedure that primarily uses an endoscope to diagnose or treat a medical problem. Historically, endoscopy was mainly used for diagnostic purposes, to investigate parts of the body that are hard to reach without surgery. Today, a small group of specially trained pediatric gastroenterologists are also using endoscopy to perform advanced therapeutic procedures. “Advanced endoscopy” is a term used to describe therapeutic procedures in which endoscopy is a primary tool, including endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), stent placements, and endoscopic resections, among others.
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