A colonoscopy is used to detect disease processes in the colon. For example, to evaluate intestinal haemorrhaging and to detect the early stages of colorectal cancer. This procedure can also be used to remove small colorectal polyps.
A colonoscopy is an examination of the colon using a colonoscope. The anus (anoscopy) and the rectum (rectoscopy) can also be inspected with the same examination.
A colonoscope consists of a flexible tube with a camera and a channel for surgical instruments. The examination serves to clarify and diagnose diseases of the colon and the rectum, such as intestinal haemorrhage, inflammation such as colitis ulcerosa, diverticulosis (or diverticulitis), colorectal polyps and cancers (colorectal cancer, rectal cancer, and anal cancer).
What preparations are carried out before the procedure?
The colon must be clean for the colonoscopy. This is done with a special drinkable solution before the examination. You will usually receive a mild sedative before you undergo the colonoscopy.
All blood-thinning medication must be discontinued before the examination takes place.
How is the examination carried out?
The examination is usually performed on an outpatient basis. You will lie on your side in a relaxed position for the examination. A colonoscope will gently inserted into the colon through the anus. A small amount of air will be pumped continuously into the colon to ease insertion and to provide a better view. Tissue samples will then taken from the suspect areas of the colon. Smaller colorectal polyps can be removed while the examination is taking place. A colonoscopy is virtually painless because there are no pain nerves in the mucous membrane in the colon. However, some patients may find it uncomfortable when the colon is dilated with air. The examination itself takes around 30 minutes.
What is the success rate of this examination?
Diseases in the colon and the anus can be very well evaluated with a colonoscopy. It is a common treatment method used to remove colorectal polyps.
What are the possible complications and risks of this examination?
A colonoscopy is generally a low-risk examination. Sometimes, minor injuries to the mucous membranes and haemorrhaging can occur. Serious complications such as injuries to the intestinal wall are extremely rare. The increased air in the colon can cause temporary flatulence and cramps.
What happens after the examination?
After the colonoscopy, you will be monitored until the effects of the sedative have worn off. You can discuss the examination results with the doctor afterwards. If tissue samples have been taken, the final examination results may not be available for a few days. If you have been given a sedative, you will not be allowed to drive a car directly after the examination.