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examination by means of an optical instrument, or endoscope, of hollow organs (for example, the esophagus— esophagoscopy) and body cavities (for example, the abdominal cavity—laparoscopy). Endoscopes are introduced through natural openings (as in bronchoscopy, proctoscopy, or cystoscopy) or through surgical incisions (as in mediastinoscopy). Endoscopy is performed under local or general anesthesia.

The first attempts to examine the urinary bladder and other hollow organs were made as early as the 19th century, but the inadequacy of the endoscopes limited development of the procedures. The possibilities of endoscopy have greatly increased since the second half of the 20th century, with the development of glass-fiber light guides and of instruments of fiber optics based on such light guides. Examination of almost all organs has become possible, and the illumination of the examined object has increased. Conditions for photographing and filming (endophotography and endocinematography) have improved, and it is now possible to make monochromatic and color videotape recordings (modifications of standard cameras and motion-picture cameras are used).

Documentation of the results of endoscopic examination have made possible objective study of the dynamics of pathological processes occurring in any organ. Modern endoscopy plays a special role in diagnosing the early stages of many diseases. The procedure is often combined with endoscopic biopsy, therapeutic measures, and catheterization. Endoscopic offices and departments have been established in many large medical institutions, and some physicians now specialize in endoscopy.


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Loginov, A. S. Laparoskopiia v klinike vnutrennikh boleznei. Moscow, 1969.
Sokolov, L. K. Atlas endoskopii zheludka i dvenadtsatiperstnoi kishki. Moscow, 1975.