Endoscopy

Endoscopes are minimally invasive and can be inserted into the openings of the body such as the mouth or anus. Because modern endoscopy has relatively few risks, delivers detailed images, and is quick to carry out, it has proven incredibly useful in many areas of medicine. Today, tens of millions of endoscopies are carried out each year. Sometimes, endoscopy will be combined with another procedure such as an ultrasound scan. Endoscopy can be used to place the ultrasound probe close to organs that can be difficult to image, such as the pancreas. Endoscopy has advanced in recent years, enabling some forms of surgery to be conducted using a modified endoscope; this makes the surgery less invasive. Current endoscopes are derived from a primitive system created in 1806-a tiny tube with a mirror and a wax candle. Although crude, this early instrument allowed a first view into a living body.

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