General Surgeon, Darwin


Endoscopy is a procedure that uses a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny video camera and light on the end, to see inside the digestive tract.

The procedures should only be performed by doctors trained in the procedure and recognised as such by the Conjoint Committee for the Recognition of Training in Gastro-Intestinal Endoscopy (see 

Types of endoscopy include:

    • Gastroscopy
    • Colonocopy
    • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
    • ERCP



  • Gastroscopy or upper gastro-intestinal endoscopy is a procedure performed under anaesthesia that uses a flexible endoscope passed through the mouth to see the lining of the upper digestive tract - including the oesophagus, stomach and the first part of the small intestine.

It is used to determine the cause of abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, swallowing difficulties, gastric reflux, unexplained weight loss, anaemia or bleeding in the upper digestive tract.


A colonoscopy is a procedure used to inspect the lower bowel or colon. It is performed under anaesthesia usually in a day facility or hospital.

A colonoscopy can detect inflamed tissue, ulcers and abnormal growths. The procedure is used to look for early signs of colorectal cancer and  can help doctors diagnose unexplained changes in bowel habits,  abdominal pain, bleeding from the anus and weight loss. It is also used for the screening and surveillance for colorectal cancer  or removal of bowel polyps. Colonoscopy with removal of polyps is the best way to prevent bowel cancer.

In order for your doctor to get the best possible view and make the colonoscopy easier, your large bowel needs to be cleaned out of all waste material (“bowel prep”).

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

Flexible sigmoidoscopy is similar to, but not the same as, a colonoscopy. A sigmoidoscopy only examines up to the sigmoid colon (the last third of the colon) while colonoscopy examines the whole large bowel. This 20-minute procedure helps identify early signs of cancer and can help diagnose unexplained changes in bowel habits, abdominal pain, bleeding from the anus and weight loss. The advantages are that no “bowel prep” is needed for the procedure and that it can at times (but not uually) be performed with minimal or no anaesthesia.


Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio-Pancreatography (ERCP) is a highly specialised technique used to study the ducts or 'drainage tubes' of the gallbladder, pancreas and liver. ERCP combines the use of endoscopy and X-ray imaging (fluroscopy) to diagnose and treat certain problems of the digestive system such as gallstones, inflammatory strictures (scars) or cancer.

The patient is sedated or anaesthetised. During the procedure a thin telescope (endoscope) is inserted down the throat to allow the doctor to see inside the digestive system. The doctor then injects a dye into the bile duct or pancreatic duct so it can be seen on an X-ray (fluroscopy) while the necessary procedure is performed. Interventions can then be performed, such as cutting to open the outlet of the bile or pancreas ducts, removal (such as with a basket-extractor) of gall stones or insertion of a small tube or stent to hold open any narrowings or blockage.







Mr John Treacy, General Surgery in Darwin
Darwin General Surgeon Mr John Treacy
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