Difference Between Endoscopy and Laparoscopy

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: September 02, 2023

       

Difference Between Endoscopy and Laparoscopy

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Introduction

For the layperson, medical terms and procedures can be complicated and intimidating. There are a lot of terms that seem unfamiliar, and it can be daunting to know what’s what. 

If you’re wondering what an endoscopy and a laparoscopy are and how they’re different, here’s everything you need to know:

Endoscopy and laparoscopy are procedures used to diagnose certain diseases. They involve the use of devices that help the medical professional visualize and examine certain parts of the body.

Both endoscopy and laparoscopy are “minimally-invasive procedures.” These medical techniques eliminate the need for large incisions (i.e., cuts) in the skin and lead to reduced discomfort and recovery time. 

The advantages of this technique over traditional open surgery include:

  • Reduced exposure of internal organs to external areas, reducing the risk of infection
  •  A shorter hospital stay and faster recovery time
  •  Less pain and bleeding after the operation
  •  Reduced scarring

Thus, both the procedures are valuable. They share similarities but also differ in some ways. 

Endoscopy vs. Laparoscopy

An endoscopy and a laparoscopy are often confused with each other. While laparoscopy is a type of endoscopy, and they share many similarities, there are some notable differences between them.

Difference Between Endoscopy and Laparoscopy in Tabular Form

The following table compares an endoscopy and a laparoscopy along significant lines:

ParametersAnesthesiaLAPAROSCOPY
NatureNon-surgical procedure; no incisions are made on the bodyUsed to perform surgeries; small “key-hole” incisions are made on the body
FocusFocused on examination of the digestive tractFocused on examination of the internal abdominal area to diagnose conditions like appendicitis and hernias
ToolUses an endoscopeUses a laparoscope (a type of endoscope)
AnaesthesiaDoes not require anaesthesiaRequires general anesthesia
ObservationObservation may not be requiredObservation may be required
DoctorIt may be performed by a physician or a surgeonIt can only be performed by a surgeon
TimeTypically 20-30 minutesTypically 30-60 minutes
RisksMinimal infections, tearing, and bleedingA difficult skill to master for surgeons; scope for minor injuries in some cases

Thus, while an endoscopy is not surgical in nature, a laparoscopy is. This is why it can be performed even by a physician, whereas a laparoscopy can only be performed by a surgeon. 

An endoscopy typically takes around 30 minutes, whereas a laparoscopy generally takes about an hour.

Endoscopy focuses on the digestive tract, e.g., the esophagus or food pipe. A laparoscopy is focused on the inside of the abdomen or stomach; it’s very useful in diagnosing conditions like appendicitis and hernias. 

An endoscopy uses an endoscope- a tube with a camera attached to it. A laparoscopy uses a laparoscope, a type of endoscope, which has a camera and a light source attached to it- this allows the surgeon to examine the area through a connected monitor.

An endoscopy can be conducted without anesthesia and may not require overnight observation. Typically, a laparoscopy will involve anesthesia and observation. 

What is an Endoscopy?

An endoscopy is a minimally- invasive procedure used for diagnosis and treatment.

The endoscopy’s history can be traced to sword swallowers! Adolf Kussmaul, inspired by them, thought of how to attach a camera and a light source to the “sword” to look inside the human body.

It is a technique used for looking into the body. It introduces an endoscope—a long, thin tube with an extremely small camera inside through a natural opening in your body, like your mouth, anal canal, or vaginal hysterectomy.

An endoscope may be used with other tools as well. An endoscope typically has a channel through which a physician can insert instruments. Such instruments may be used to administer care or collect tissue.

There are various kinds of tools, such as:

  • Flexible forceps: A tissue sample is taken using these tong-like tools.
  •  Biopsy forceps: These are used to remove a suspicious tumor or a sample of tissue.
  •  Cytology brushes: used to collect samples of cells.
  •  Forceps: to remove internal stitches from the body.

It generally takes around 20-30 minutes to complete an endoscopy.

Why you may need an endoscopy

An endoscopy may be employed for a variety of reasons. For example: 

  • To screen for cancer. For example, a type of endoscopy called a colonoscopy is used to screen for cancer in early and preventable stages. 
  •  For diagnosis: An endoscopy helps in diagnosing pains or problems accurately so that proper treatment can be designed for the patient. It can be used to diagnose problems in many parts of the body- the esophagus, stomach, colon, ears, nose, throat, heart, urinary tract, abdomen, etc.
  •  For treatment: An endoscopy can also be used to treat diagnosed issues in a minimally invasive procedure. For example, a colonoscopy (a type of endoscopy) can be used to remove polyps, which would otherwise develop into cancer. 

Thus, an endoscopy can be used in a variety of situations. 

Types of Endoscopy

There are various types of endoscopies. They focus on different parts of the body and help diagnose specific issues. For example:

  • Anoscopy- used to view the rectum
  •  Arthroscopy- used to view joints along the body
  •  Bronchoscopy- used to view the trachea, windpipe, and lungs
  •  Colposcopy- used to view the vagina or cervix
  •  Laparoscopy- used to view abdominal organs or female reproductive organs
  •  Neuroendoscopy- used to view parts of the brain

Issues and Risks in Endoscopy

  • Infection
  •  Over-sedation
  •  Tearing in the stomach lining
  •  Minor bleeding
  •  Drug reactions

What is a Laparoscopy?

A laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure. It allows a medical surgeon to view the inside of the stomach or pelvis. It does so through small incisions along the long, which is why it’s often called keyhole surgery or band-aid surgery.

Even though it employs incisions, it is a minimally invasive procedure. This is why it does not equate to steep recovery time or interruption in the life of a patient post-operation.

The procedure generally takes from 30 to 60 minutes. 

It uses a laparoscope, which is a type of endoscope. A laparoscope has a small tube with an attached camera and light source. It relays the view to a connected monitor, from where the surgeon can diagnose, see, and operate. 

There are two types of laparoscopes:

  • A rod lens system connected to a video camera
  •  A digital laparoscope which makes the rod lens system redundant

A laparoscopy is especially useful in diagnosing the cause of abdominal or pelvic pain. It can help detect ulcers and configure how severe they are. This makes it a helpful diagnostic technique that aids surgical interventions.

Procedure 

Laparoscopic surgery involves multiple tiny abdominal incisions. The abdomen is then expanded with a gas, such as carbon dioxide, to make room for the procedure. Your surgeon examines the area using visual aids on a display using a laparoscope that has a video camera connected.

To carry out the procedure, specialized keyhole instruments are used. For example:

  • Obstetrical forceps
  •  Scissors
  •  Probes
  •  Dissectors
  •  Hooks
  •  Retractors

Types of Laparoscopy 

Laparoscopy is used in many fields, including:

  • Gynecology – related to the female reproductive system
  • Gastroenterology – related to the digestive system
  • Urologyurology-related to the urinary system

A laparoscopy can be used in:

  • Gallbladder removal
  • Colectomy- removal of all or part of the colon
  • Nephrectomy- removal of the kidney

Laparoscopic techniques can also be used in veterinary medicine, i.e., the study and treatment of medical concerns in animals. Research has shown that dogs neutered with laparoscopic techniques experienced 65% less pain than those neutered with other, traditional methods.

Issues and Risks in Laparoscopy

While laparoscopy has many advantages, it does hold certain limitations. For example:

  • It is a difficult skill to master. Surgeons have a limited range of motion, reduced dexterity and depth perception, and have to master its counter-intuitive mechanisms.
  •  Possibility of injury. Laparoscopic injury can lead to rare and unintentional injuries in the abdominal wall, bowels, pelvis, etc. It poses some risks for people with low BMI and people who have previously undergone abdominal surgery.

Main Differences Between Endoscopy and Laparoscopy in Points

  • An endoscopy does not require any incisions- natural orifices like the mouth are used. A laparoscopy requires a small incision for the procedure. 
  •  While an endoscopy is not surgical in nature, a laparoscopy is. This is why it can be performed even by a physician, whereas a laparoscopy can only be performed by a surgeon. 
  •  An endoscopy typically takes around 30 minutes, whereas a laparoscopy generally takes about an hour. 
  •  Endoscopy focuses on the digestive tract, e.g., the esophagus or food pipe. A laparoscopy is focused on the inside of the abdomen or stomach; it’s very useful in diagnosing conditions like appendicitis and hernias. 
  •  An endoscopy uses an endoscope- a tube with a camera attached to it. A laparoscopy uses a laparoscope, a type of endoscope, which has a camera and a light source attached to it- this allows the surgeon to examine the area through a connected monitor.
  •  An endoscopy can be conducted without anesthesia and may not require overnight observation. Typically, a laparoscopy will involve anesthesia and observation. 

Conclusion

Endoscopy and laparoscopy are modern, minimally invasive procedures that help in diagnosing and treating several problems. Minimal invasion equates to reduced discomfort and recovery time. Thus, they are advantageous procedures. 

Endoscopy and laparoscopy share some similarities (laparoscopy can be deemed as a type of endoscopy.) However, they do differ in some key ways. The primary difference is that while an endoscopy does not require any incision, a laparoscopy does, albeit a small one. 

There are several types of these procedures. The specific kind must be prescribed by a doctor after consultation with the patient. Such procedures are highly useful in solving a variety of issues in people. 

It’s important to be aware of the general procedure, recovery, and risks involved in any procedure. 


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"Difference Between Endoscopy and Laparoscopy." Diffzy.com, 2024. Sat. 15 Jun. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-endoscopy-and-laparoscopy>.



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