Endoscopy

An endoscopy is used to investigate unusual symptoms and to help perform types of surgery. We have specialist endoscopy units at both of our hospital sites.
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Our services

An endoscopy is used to investigate unusual symptoms and to help perform types of surgery.  We have specialist endoscopy units at both of our hospital sites.

An endoscope is a thin, long, flexible tube that has a light source and a video camera at one end. Images of the inside of your body are relayed to a television screen. Endoscopes can be inserted into the body through a natural opening, such as through your throat or anus (the opening through which stools are passed out of the body).

Why might you need an Endoscopy?

Investigating symptoms with endoscopy

The most common use of endoscopy is to investigate symptoms that are causing you discomfort or concern. An endoscopy might be recommended to investigate the following symptoms:

  • difficulties swallowing or pain when swallowing (dysphagia)
  • persistent abdominal pain
  • chest pain that is not caused by heart-related conditions
  • persistent nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting
  • unexplained weight loss
  • vomiting blood
  • persistent diarrhoea

These types of symptoms are usually investigated with a gastroscopy (used to examine the upper section of the digestive system) or a colonoscopy (used to examine the bowel).

Other types of endoscopes used to investigate symptoms include:

  • arthroscope – used to diagnose symptoms such as unexplained joint pain and stiffness
  • cystoscope – used to diagnose bladder problems such as urinary incontinence (the involuntary passing of urine) and blood in your urine
  • hysteroscope – used to diagnose problems with the womb, such as unusual vaginal bleeding or repeated miscarriages
  • sigmoidoscope - used to diagnose problems with the rectum or bowel, such as potential bowel cancer.

An endoscope can also be used to remove a small sample of tissue so it can be checked for cancer cells. This is known as a biopsy.

Surgery

Modified endoscopes that have surgical instruments attached to them or passed through them can be used to carry out certain surgical procedures. For example, they may be used to remove gallstones, bladder stones or kidney stones; repair a bleeding stomach ulcer or remove small tumours from the lungs or digestive system.

The procedure

Before having an endoscopy

Depending on what part of your body is being examined, you may be asked to avoid eating and drinking for several hours beforehand. If you are having a colonoscopy or flexi-sigmoidoscopy you may also be given a laxative to help clear stools from your bowels in advance of the procedure.

If you are taking a medicine to thin your blood, such as warfarin, you may be asked to stop taking it for a few days before having your endoscopy. This is to prevent excessive bleeding during the procedure. However, do not stop taking any prescribed medicine unless your GP or specialist advises you to do so.

The endoscopy procedure

An endoscopy is not usually painful, although it may feel uncomfortable. Endoscopies do not usually require general anaesthetic. However, you may be given a local anaesthetic to numb a specific area of your body. This may be in the form of a spray or lozenge to numb your throat, for example. You may also be offered a sedative which makes you feel more relaxed and less aware of what is going on around you.

The endoscope is carefully guided into your body. Exactly where it enters will depend on the part of your body being examined. This may include your:

  • throat
  • anus (the opening through which stools are passed out of the body)
  • urethra (the tube that connects the bladder to the vulva or penis, through which urine passes)

Depending on the exact nature of the procedure and its objectives, an endoscopy can take 15-60 minutes to carry out. It will usually be performed on an outpatient basis, which means you will not have to stay in hospital overnight.

After an endoscopy

After having an endoscopy, you will probably need to rest for about an hour until the effects of the local anaesthetic and/or the sedative have worn off. You should not drive immediately after the procedure, so you will need to arrange transport to take you home.

Our facilities

We provide first class endoscopy units at both of our hospital sites.

Warrington Hospital

The endoscopy unit at Warrington Hospital is located on the first floor in Appleton Wing. It is a purpose built unit and the facilities and treatment have received Joint Accreditation Group (JAG) status which is a national quaity standard for endoscopy services.

Halton General Hospital

The endoscopy unit at Halton General Hospital is located on the main corridor of the upper level (accessed through Entrance 1). The unit is in the process of preparing for its JAG accreditation.

What are the waiting times?

If you are referred for an urgent endoscopy (for example if you have symptoms that your GP thinks may require cancer to be investigated or ruled out) then you will usually be seen within days of your referral to us and within a maximum of two weeks.

Other Information & Downloads

NHS Choices have a video where you can watch what happens during a colonoscopy.

Referral information

GPs can refer direct to the hospital for endoscopy.

Main Contact Information

Appleton Wing 
1st Floor 
Warrington Hospital
Warrington 
Cheshire 
WA5 1QG

Telephone1:
01928 753182

 

Endoscopy Unit 
Halton General Hospital 
Hospital Way
Runcorn 
Cheshire 
WA7 2DA

Telephone1:
01928 753182

Warrington Hospital

Halton General Hospital