An endoscopy is a minimally invasive non-surgical medical procedure. Traditional endoscopy is done by inserting a flexible tube to examine the patient’s organs or tissues. If you need to undergo an endoscopy in Singapore, it is best to consult with a specialist at an endoscopy centre. Doing this will allow you to have an idea of what the process is all about.
1. What Is An Endoscopy?
Diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy is non-surgical and is done to observe an individual’s digestive tract. This procedure requires a flexible tube with a scope/camera attached to one end. Through this, your doctor can view images of your digestive tract on a monitor.
2. Reasons You May Need An Endoscopy
Your doctor may recommend an endoscopy procedure if you experience common problems with your digestive system. The occasional stomach pain, nausea, and indigestion may not be a cause for concern. However, it is best to consider an endoscopy if the pain is persistent.
Endoscopy procedures give your doctor insights into your lower and upper digestive tract. This medical screening may be done to:
- Identify the cause of digestion-related symptoms (i.e. bleeding, abdominal pain, excessive bloating, etc.)
- Determine the severity of your digestive issues
- Perform a biopsy on a specific area in the digestive tract
- Screen for colorectal cancer or other types of cancers
- Remove benign polyps that may metastasise or worsen into a cancer
- Observe pre-existing gastrointestinal conditions
An endoscopy views the entirety of your digestive system, including the upper and lower intestines, oesophagus, and stomach. Additionally, it offers a more accurate view of your digestive health and condition than x-rays. If you suspect you have ulcers or inflammation, an endoscopy will help.
3. Types Of Endoscopic Procedures
Endoscopic procedures are further classified into different types. Each differs on the area to be examined and where the scope will be inserted. Below are some types:
Gastroscopy treats and diagnoses conditions affecting the oesophagus, stomach, duodenum, or upper intestine.
In addition, a Gastroscopy can also help a doctor understand the cause of unexplained symptoms, such as:
- Stomach pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Unexplained weight loss
- Persistent heartburns
Also known as keyhole or minimally-invasive surgery, laparoscopic surgery involves small incisions on your body. In this screening, a doctor will make a small incision on your skin and insert a small tube with a camera.
A laparoscopy can help diagnose conditions in the abdomen or pelvis. It may also be used to perform surgical procedures, such as removing a damaged / diseased organ or taking tissue samples for a biopsy.
Unlike an endoscopy, colonoscopies involve the insertion of a tube into a patient’s colon or rectum. Adults aged 40 and older are at a higher risk of colon cancer or cancerous polyps. It is ideal for them to undergo a colonoscopy, as it helps determine abnormalities in the colon and rectum. Some symptoms include:
- Rectal bleeding
- Change in bowel habits
- Presence of blood in the stool
- Unexplained weight loss
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBS)
In a cystoscopy screening, your doctor will examine the walls or lining of your bladder and the urethra (the tube that carries urine away from the body). The doctor will insert a cystoscope or a hollow tube inside your urethra and gradually extend it into the bladder.
Patients with medical issues relating to their bladder or urethra may need a cystoscope. Some of the most common symptoms include the following:
- Blood in urine or hematuria
- Incontinence or inability to control the bladder
- Overactive bladder
- Pain while urinating
Your doctor might also conduct another procedure known as ureteroscopy simultaneously with your cystoscopy. This procedure uses a much smaller scope to observe the tubes carrying urine from the kidneys towards the bladder.
As the name suggests, a sigmoidoscopy examines the sigmoid or the lower part of the large intestine before the rectum. Sigmoidoscopies are also often done to take tissue samples, conduct a biopsy, or remove polyps or haemorrhoids. It’s also considered a type of colorectal and rectal cancer screening.
Sigmoidoscopies can help diagnose a range of diseases and medical conditions. If you have any of the following, you may consider this type of endoscopy:
- Rectal bleeding
- Belly pain
Some of your symptoms may overlap, making it difficult for you to determine which type of screening to take. In such cases, consider talking to a doctor or specialist about the matter.
4. What To Expect During An Endoscopy?
Though an endoscopy is minimally invasive, some individuals may have fears about the procedure. The idea of a small tube inserted into the body may sound worrisome. But, with a professional colorectal surgeon in Singapore, rest assured that your endoscopy will be free from serious risks.
The evening before your endoscopy, ensure that you have an empty stomach. Therefore, you must fast for at least 6 hours before the procedure or as instructed by your doctor.
An empty stomach gives your doctor a much clearer and unobstructed view of your stomach, intestine, and GI tract. The doctor may also recommend you take a laxative to clear your bowels.
As preparation, the doctor will apply local anaesthesia to numb the area to be examined. They will also sedate you to relax your body during the tube insertion.
The procedure can be done in as short as 15 to 30 minutes. Afterwhich, your doctor will further observe you, especially after your sedative has worn off. You may experience mild symptoms like cramps or soreness after an endoscopy. But, any discomfort tends to resolve quickly.
5. What Are The Potential Risks/Complications Of An Endoscopy
Endoscopies are generally safe, but some complications are associated with the procedure. These risks include:
- Allergic reaction to the sedative
- Bleeding or infection in the digestive tract
- Perforation or a tear in the digestive lining
- Pain in the chest area
It is best to inform your doctor immediately if you experience discomfort after the procedure.
6. Recovery After An Endoscopy In Singapore
After an endoscopy, your doctor will advise you to stay at the clinic or endoscopy centre for 1 to 2 hours. Sometimes, you may have to stay overnight, especially if you receive treatment after the screening.
Some patients report experiencing sore throat for 2 days after an endoscopy. You may need a doctor’s consultation if you experience the same. Alternatively, you may relieve the soreness by drinking warm water.
Conclusion On Getting An Endoscopy In Singapore
Conducting an endoscopy allows your doctor to assess any present issues in your digestive tract. It is not a cause for worry if you experience minor digestive problems. However, it may be time to consult a doctor if the problem persists.
Dr Q. M. Leong is a professional colorectal surgeon in Singapore. He specialises in diagnosing colorectal cancers, hemorrhoids, peptic ulcers, gastritis, and other gastrointestinal diseases. Get in touch with Dr Leong for more inquiries or to schedule a consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Getting An Endoscopy In Singapore
Yes. You can claim up to $1200 for a standard colonoscopy and up to $1600 for both gastroscopy and colonoscopy.
No, an endoscopy is not a painful procedure. The doctor will apply an anaesthetic throat spray and a light sedative to make the examination comfortable.
Yes, getting an endoscopy is a diagnostic and therapeutic day procedure.
According to current medical guidelines, any patient with gastrointestinal symptoms is advised to get an endoscopy. Colonoscopy is the gold standard for colorectal cancer screening and patients over the age of 50 years old should have a colonoscopy.