What’s the difference between an endoscopy and a colonoscopy?

Endoscopy and colonoscopy are two of the procedures we carry out most at OneWelbeck. Both are used to visualise parts of your digestive tract, however there are multiple differences between the two. Read on to find out more.

What are the procedures used for?

An endoscopy and a colonoscopy are both invasive, nonsurgical procedures used to visualise parts of your digestive tract. These procedures can aid with diagnoses either by directly visualising signs of disease, for example, the presence of precancerous polyps or by helping to direct further investigations, such as biopsies.

What equipment is used?

These procedures use a long, thin, flexible tube with a light and camera at the end, called an endoscope, to take high-quality images of various parts of your digestive tract, such as the oesophagus, stomach, colon and rectum. Both endoscopies and colonoscopies usually take around 10-30 mins, unless there are complications or further investigations, such as biopsies or polyp removal, are required.

Endoscopy: an overview

In conventional endoscopy, the endoscope is passed through the mouth and throat into the oesophagus. During a colonoscopy, the endoscope is passed through the rectum into the large intestine (colon). Both procedures can be carried out under light or deep sedation with varying levels of anaesthesia. Alternatively, they can be performed fully awake with local anaesthetic applied to the throat prior to endoscopy to reduce any pain or discomfort during the procedure.

Colonoscopy: an overview

In essence, a colonoscopy is a type of endoscopy, which is simply any procedure where your internal organs are visualised using an endoscope. A colonoscopy examines the lower part of your digestive tract, including the rectum and large intestine (colon). In contrast, an endoscopy (also sometimes referred to as a gastroscopy) is used to examine the upper part of the digestive tract, which includes the oesophagus, stomach and the upper part of the small intestine, known as the duodenum.

How do I prepare for each procedure?

Due to the different entry routes, the preparation steps for endoscopies and colonoscopies also differ. For a conventional endoscopy (gastroscopy), there is generally no specific preparation required unless the procedure is being carried out under general anaesthetic, in which case you’ll be advised not to eat for 6-8 hours beforehand. For a colonoscopy, you will have to undergo what’s known as “bowel prep”, which involves drinking large volumes of cleansing liquids, along with laxatives, enemas and possibly several days of a clear liquid diet before the procedure.

Get in touch today

If you would like to speak to one of our specialists about colonoscopy, endoscopy, or any other concerns you might have regarding your digestive health, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today.

You can easily book online, or simply contact us through our online form or via telephone.

How OneWelbeck
can help

Here at OneWelbeck, we have a team of specialists, state of the art facilities and diagnostics, and highly competitive financial packages for self-funding patients as well as those with private health care.

Digestive Health