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Examination of the body's interior through an instrument inserted into a natural opening or an incision, usually as an outpatient procedure. Endoscopes include the upper gastrointestinal endoscope (for the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum), the colonoscope (for the colon), and the bronchoscope (for the bronchial tubes). With fibre optics, much more maneuverable instruments can reach formerly inaccessible sites, while causing much less discomfort. Attachments can take tissue samples, excise polyps and small tumours, and remove foreign objects.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on endoscopy, visit Britannica.com.