Endoscopy and bronchoscopy procedures enable your doctor to diagnose and treat a variety of conditions without the need for surgery.

Endoscopy and bronchoscopy refers to a group of minimally invasive procedures used to examine your stomach, intestines, lungs and more. They’re performed by specialists, such as gastroenterologists or pulmonologists, with training in the area of concern. These doctors use an endoscope — a long, flexible tube with a tiny camera attached to the end — to assess the problem area. In some instances, if your doctor identifies a problem, he or she can perform treatment during the same procedure.

Although many hospitals offer these services, doctors at El Camino Health have advanced training and experience in performing these procedures and interpreting results. This allows us to provide a higher level of personalized care. In addition, we use the latest equipment and continually measure our performance against rigorous national standards to ensure we provide the highest level of precision and safety.

Learn more about diagnostic exams and what to expect by reading our frequently asked questions about endoscopy, bronchoscopylab tests and radiology exams.

Endoscopy Services

We perform many endoscopy tests, which adds to our experience and expertise. We offer a full range of tests, which are usually done on an outpatient basis, including:


A colonoscopy can help prevent colorectal cancer by identifying precancerous growths, known as polyps, and removing them during the procedure. Colonoscopy can also be used to screen for ulcerative colitis and other digestive disorders.

Your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy if you have:

  • Chronic, unexplained abdominal or rectal pain.
  • Persistent diarrhea or other changes in bowel habits.
  • A low blood count.
  • A family history of colon cancer.
  • A personal history of colon polyps or colon cancer. 

During the procedure, your doctor inserts a long, flexible, lighted tube (colonoscope) in your anus and guides it through the length of your colon (large intestine). The procedure is performed under mild sedation, so there’s no discomfort. You’ll be able to resume normal activities the same day as the procedure — complications from colonoscopy are rare.

At El Camino Health, our specialists use the latest equipment that offers highly detailed imaging and the ability to perform a variety of procedures during the exam, including:

  • Polyp removal. Colonoscopies can be so effective in preventing colorectal cancer that doctors recommend screening colonoscopies begin at age 50 — earlier if you have additional risk factors. 
  • Biopsy. Your doctor may take a tissue sample to be analyzed in the lab. 
  • Secca® procedure for bowel incontinence. This procedure uses radiofrequency energy to treat bowel incontinence.

Doctors at El Camino Health can use an innovative device called a Third Eye Retroscope, which enhances their ability to diagnose and treat problems in your colon. The colon has many folds and sharp turns that can hide abnormalities from a traditional colonoscope. The Third Eye Retroscope has an additional camera that looks backward, capturing a view from in front of and behind the folds of your colon. El Camino Health participated in studies that assessed the effectiveness of this advanced technology, and we were the first hospital in the world to use it.

Double-Balloon Enteroscopy

Also known as push-and-pull enteroscopy, this procedure is used to diagnose problems in the small intestine, including celiac disease, Crohn's disease, cancer, infections, and other conditions.

During the procedure, your doctor inserts an enteroscope — a long, flexible, lighted tube — into your mouth for an upper approach or into your anus for a lower approach. Your doctor guides the scope into your small intestine by alternately inflating balloons placed around and at the end of the scope to move it forward.

Unlike conventional enteroscopy, which stretches and lengthens the bowel as the endoscope advances, the push-pull action of the double-balloon enteroscopy compresses and shortens the intestine. This enables doctors to see the full length of a colon that has tight or narrow twists and turns that make it unreachable with a standard enteroscope.

In addition to performing a visual examination of the small bowel, your doctor can insert instruments through the scope to obtain tissue samples, instill air or fluid, give injections or stop bleeding.

Endoscopic Mucosal Resection (EMR)

EMR can help determine if cancer has invaded the underlying tissue and structures, which helps in staging of cancers and determining treatment options.

In this test, your doctor uses an endoscope to examine abnormal areas in your esophagus, stomach or colon. To get a better view of an area with abnormal cells, your doctor injects a saline solution under the area, which causes a blister to form. This allows your doctor to cut or suction the abnormal tissue away from the underlying tissue without damaging normal structures.

EMR also can be used to treat early cancers.

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

ERCP allows your doctor to diagnose and treat problems in your liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, pancreas and pancreatic duct.

During the procedure, your doctor guides an endoscope through your mouth, esophagus and stomach into the bile and pancreatic ducts in your small intestine. Your doctor injects a special dye into the area and uses an X-ray to look for abnormalities. Instruments can also be inserted through the scope to obtain tissue samples, remove stones, relieve obstructions, stretch ducts, implant or remove stents, or perform other treatments.

Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS), Upper or Lower

An EUS is used to examine your esophagus, stomach and upper small intestine, as well as your gallbladder, liver, pancreas, bile ducts and other nearby structures. Clinical studies show that EUS is better for spotting small tumors and gallstones than computed tomography (CT)computed tomography (CT) and adds valuable information when planning treatment options.

EUS can also be used to find blockages, cysts and stones, and to help guide a needle to collect a tissue sample (EUS-guided needle biopsy). Obtaining tissue for biopsies in this manner helps doctors avoid more invasive procedures that require incisions.

During the procedure, your doctor inserts an endoscope through your mouth and throat, and guides it to your esophagus, stomach and upper small intestine. At the tip of the scope is an ultrasound ultrasound device that uses sound waves to create images of internal structures. For a lower EUS, your doctor inserts the endoscope through your anus.

In addition to providing images and obtaining tissue samples, EUS can be used to perform a procedure to relieve a type of chronic abdominal pain. To perform the procedure — called celiac plexus neurolysis — your doctor inserts an instrument through the scope and administers an injection to a group of nerves called the celiac plexus.


Your doctor can use sigmoidoscopy to examine the lower portion of your large intestine — known as the sigmoid colon — for causes of persistent diarrhea, abdominal pain, bleeding and other problems. It’s also commonly used to screen for colon cancer in people age 50 and older. Sometimes, other exams are done along with sigmoidoscopy, such as anoscopy — which examines the anus — and proctoscopy, which examines at the rectum.

To perform the procedure, your doctor inserts a sigmoidoscope — a long, flexible, lighted tube — through your rectum and into your sigmoid colon. Sigmoidoscopy can help diagnose:

During a sigmoidoscopy, your doctor can also remove polyps or hemorrhoids and take tissue samples to be analyzed in the lab.

Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)

This procedure, uses ultrasound to examine the structure and function of your heart. Your doctor inserts a probe through your mouth and throat into your esophagus to place it near your heart. A transducer on the end of the probe sends out ultrasonic sound waves that bounce off your heart, and the reflected waves are sent to a computer to display images of your heart walls and valves.

TEE gives a clearer image than a traditional echocardiogram, which places the transducer on your chest, because the sound waves don’t have to travel through skin, muscle or bone. TEE may be used to assess artificial heart valves.

Doctors may recommend this test if they suspect a heart condition such as a mitral valve disorder, an aortic aneurysm, heart failure, certain infections, or blood clots or masses inside your heart.

TEE is done at both our Mountain View and Los Gatos Campuses.

Upper Endoscopy 

Also called oral endoscopy or esophagogastroduodenoscopy, this procedure is used to examine the lining of the upper part of your digestive tract. That includes your esophagus (the tube that connects your mouth and stomach), your stomach and your duodenum, (the first part of your small intestine). Upper endoscopy can help diagnose many conditions, such as ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD),celiac disease, cancer and some precancerous changes.

Your doctor may suggest an upper endoscopy if you have:

  • Unexplained pain in your upper belly
  • Heartburn
  • Persistent nausea and vomiting
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Signs of internal bleeding, such as black stool or blood in your vomit
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Unexplained weight loss

To perform the procedure, your doctor inserts the endoscope — a long, flexible, lighted tube — through your mouth and throat. He or she then guides the instrument to your small intestine to examine your upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Upper endoscopy may be performed with or without sedation. You and your doctor can decide which method is right for you.

For some conditions, your doctor may be able to perform a treatment during your endoscopy procedure, known as gastrointestinal stenting, to open colon or digestive tract blockages.

Other Diagnostic Procedures

Doctors at El Camino Health perform a variety of endoscopic procedures, including:

  • Arthroscopy – Examines the interior of your joints, such as your hip.
  • Bronchoscopy – Examines your chest and lungs.
  • Cystoscopy – Looks at your urethra and bladder.
  • Hysteroscopy – Examines your cervical canal and uterine cavity. 
  • Laryngoscopy – Inspects your larynx or voice box.
  • Laparoscopy – Studies organs in your abdominal cavity.

Endoscopy Care Team

  • Anesthesiologists – Doctors who specialize in administering anesthesia. They monitor and care for people during their procedures until they are stable in the post anesthesia care unit (PACU).
  • Departmental technicians – Clinicians who are specially trained in processes such as drawing blood (phlebotomists) or administering tests such as electrocardiogram (EKG) or ultrasound. 
  • Endoscopy technicians – Clinicians who are specially trained to work with endoscopy equipment. 
  • Gastroenterologists – Doctors who are specially trained to diagnose and treat conditions of the stomach, intestines and other gastrointestinal organs.
  • Pulmonologists – Doctors who are specially trained to diagnose and treat respiratory conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), influenza and many others.
  • Registered nurses – Highly trained medical professionals who sometimes specialize in specific areas of care. Endoscopy nurses are skilled in all aspects of caring for you before, during and after your test.

Your Opinion Matters

Because your comfort and well-being are important to us, we encourage you to take an active part in your care and welcome your feedback. Nurse managers are available to speak with you, and you may also call or write the patient experience team at 650-962-5836 or patient_experience@elcaminohealth.org.