Both endoscopy and colonoscopy are nonsurgical procedures that involve use of a flexible tube with a light and camera to examine parts of the digestive tract. A colonoscopy is a type of endoscopy.
Endoscopy is a procedure in which the gastro-intestinal tract (GI tract) is viewed through a lighted, flexible tube with a camera at the end (endoscope). Small samples of tissues cells (biopsy) can also be collected and sent for testing.
There are two basic types of endoscopy:
Upper endoscopy – The esophagus, stomach, and small intestines can be viewed by a thin flexible tube inserted through the mouth. In an ultrasound endoscopy, a small ultrasound device is installed on the tip of the endoscope, which allows doctors to get more accurate and detailed images than those obtained from external ultrasounds.
Colonoscopy – The lining of the large intestine, colon and rectum can be viewed by a flexible tube inserted through the rectum. olonoscopies are often used to diagnose colon cancer, but are also frequently used to diagnose inflammatory bowel disease. In older patients (sometimes even younger ones) an unexplained drop in hematocrit (one sign of anemia) is an indication that calls for a colonoscopy, usually along with an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), even if no obvious blood has been seen in the stool (feces).