Therapeutic Endoscopy

"The usefulness of therapeutic endoscopy is wide. With it you can perform actions that once required a surgical intervention".


Therapeutic endoscopy consists of a set of endoscopic techniques in which maneuvers are performed that allow some lesions to be definitively cured or others to be palliated in order to improve the patient's quality of life and prognosis.

A normal - or special, depending on the case - endoscope is introduced through the mouth or the anus, to reach the lesion to be treated.

The time that the test takes varies greatly and depends on the type of intervention. In general, the average duration is a few minutes in the simplest cases and a few hours (exceptionally more than two hours) in the most complicated ones.

The vast majority of these techniques are performed on an outpatient basis.

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When is therapeutic endoscopy indicated?

The usefulness of therapeutic endoscopy is wide. It can be used to perform actions that in the past required a surgical intervention, reducing the risks, discomfort and time spent by the patient in the hospital.

  • Polypectomy.
  • Hemostatic techniques.
  • Extraction of foreign bodies.
  • Treatment of hemorrhoids.
  • ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography).
  • Obstructions.
  • Therapeutic echoendoscopy.
  • Treatment of Zenker's diverticulum.
  • Treatment of obesity.

Most frequent indications:

Do you have any of these diseases?

You may need to have a therapeutic endoscopy

How is therapeutic endoscopy performed?

Although the techniques are varied, they all consist of the introduction, through the mouth or anus, of an endoscope until it reaches the lesion to be treated.

The patient is sedated.

Later, with direct endoscopic vision or with the help of X-rays or ultrasound, special instruments are introduced through the working channel of the endoscope to act on the lesion.

The time that the test lasts is very variable and depends on the type of intervention. In general, the average duration is a few minutes in the simplest cases and a few hours (exceptionally more than two hours) in the most complicated ones.

Procedures through the mouth. In principle, those procedures that are going to be performed through the mouth only require fasting for about 8 hours to ensure that the upper digestive tract does not contain food remains.

Procedures through the anus. These procedures require a longer preparation with powerful laxatives or enemas so that the intestine is cleaned of feces, as well as fasting for at least 8 hours.

Medication. It is very convenient, during a week before the test, not to take medications that may alter blood clotting. If the patient is taking a medication that, in principle, he cannot interrupt, he must inform the doctor who will perform the intervention.

These scans are usually performed with the patient completely sedated under the supervision of an anesthesiologist. Most are outpatient procedures, although in some cases it may be advisable to stay in hospital for 24 hours for observation.

In general, we try to keep the patient's discomfort to a minimum and, when sedation or anesthesia is used, the patient does not remember anything about the procedure. The discomfort is normally the same as in non-therapeutic endoscopy. In the event that therapeutic action is required, the exploration time is usually extended.

After the exploration, in some cases, the patient may complain of abdominal distension and/or abdominal pain, depending on the air that has been trapped inside the intestine and the personal tolerance to it. This discomfort usually subsides after a few hours.

The risk depends on several factors: complication and duration of the interventions, age of the patient or if the patient has debilitating diseases or cardiorespiratory problems.

However, as a whole, complications are very rare and always less than those presented by the surgery needed to solve the same problems.

  • Abdominal discomfort or pain at the end of the exploration.
  • Bleeding and intestinal perforation.
  • A serious, although absolutely exceptional, complication is cardiorespiratory arrest, which tends to be more related to the poor state of the patient and to the anesthesia than to the endoscopic intervention itself.

Where do we do it?


The Department of Digestive
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra

The Digestive Department of the Clinica Universidad de Navarra is composed of a multidisciplinary team of specialists who are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the digestive tract.

Our objective is that each diagnosis be carefully established and the treatment plan adjusted to each patient.

Imagen de la fachada de consultas de la sede en Pamplona de la Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Why at the Clinica?

  • Medical specialists who are national references.
  • Specialized nursing team.
  • Endoscopy Unit and High Risk Digestive Tumor Prevention and Consultation Unit to offer the best care to our patients.