At Aut Even, we carry out thousands of endoscopies every year.
Endoscopies are procedures where the inside of your body is examined internally using an endoscope. An endoscopy is usually carried out while a person is awake. Before the procedure, a sedative (medication that has a calming effect) may be given to help the patient relax.
Below, General Surgeon, Terry Chirstle, discusses the Endoscopy service at Aut Even and the benefits of the Hospital’s new state of the art system to patients and surgeons.
Q: Terry, Aut Even has invested in a new Endoscopy system. Can you tell us a little about that?
We have a system which has essentially been replaced in the last few months. This system gives you a far greater resolution and the fibreoptic endoscopes that are used are tubes that are a lot more flexible and durable than previously. You can also see a lot more and your screen image is quite large and the resolution if very clear.
Q: So what are the benefits of the new system?
It is a higher specification endoscopy system. This means that our ability to detect lesions is much enhanced. This new equipment is state of the art and that allows detection of even the smallest lesions. There are certain types of lesions that you might encounter in a colonoscopy that has specific features and on the system you can change the resolution by pushing a button and it will show the lesion in a much different way. That allows you to know what type of lesion it is and then you can proceed with a procedure called Endoscopic Mucosal Resection (EMR) much more easily. It is like microsurgery for the bowel. You are no longer having to remove a section of the bowel for that type of problem when you can actually raise up that lesion with a solution and literally do a small operation and leave the area open and it will heal fine, but you can do that to quite a large lesion without any high risk.
Q: So are all lesions removed as part of the procedure?
If a lesion is detected most of the time it can be removed by endoscopic means. If it is too large then it will be biopsied and then follow up care is then decided based on the pathology.
Q: If you do find small growths within the bowel during your investigation, what typically happens?
In terms of tackling polys or small growths in the bowel, if you have a very good resolution then you can actually tackle these lesions and remove them with a decent margin. This means injecting fluid underneath the polyp and then removing the entire lesion in a technique called endoscopic mucosal resection. So then you have a complete specimen and your pathology is then also complete and it reduces the need to go back in and do additional procedures and reduces the need for a future bowel resection. If the polyp is removed entirely the patient is in good shape.
If you detect polyps then you are essentially eliminating cancer because once you remove those polyps they are the future cancers and you have reduced the cancer rate simply by removing polyps.
If you are concerned about your digestive system or bowel habits please contact your GP who will decide upon the need for a referral for an endoscopy.
For more more information on our General Surgeons here https://autevenhospital.ie/consultants-by-service/general-surgery/