COLONSCOPY AND FLEXI SIGMOIDOSCOPY
Colonoscopy is an examination of the large intestine/bowel by a flexible tube. It transmits pictures of the bowel lining to a TV-type monitor. It is done to investigate symptoms such as altered bowel habit, abdominal pain, low blood count, bleeding, or in those with a history of bowel cancer or polyps. We can also remove polyps (polypectomy) which may prevent bowel cancer, take biopsies or inject blood vessels during colonoscopy. It will be a day procedure. You will be given sedation and cannot drive until the next day.
The Colonoscopy preparation is designed to clear the bowel of faeces so that the best possible examination can be done. You can expect to have loose stools and then watery diarrhoea beginning a few hours after the prep. If the preparation is not adequate some abnormalities such as polyps or even bowel cancer can be missed.
Colonoscopy is the most accurate way to detect bowel cancer and polyps as well as remove polyps, some of which may contain early cancer. There are some major risks of the procedure and they include: perforation (one in a thousand chance and requires surgery to fix) and bleeding (one in a 200-400 chance and may require repeat procedure, blood transfusion or surgery). Changes in blood pressure (can cause heart problems or stroke – very rare) and vomiting during the procedure and inhaling the vomit can cause serious breathing difficulty and chest infections – rare.
If you are concerned about the risks you must discuss this with your referring doctor or see the Gastroenterologist.