Colonoscopy is a medical procedure done to examine the colon using a flexible and lightened equipment known as a colonoscope. It can help to detect health disorders like fistula, ulcers, colon cancer, and colon polyps among other colon disorders. The equipment is inserted in the rectum via the anus and images of the colon’s interior are displayed on a monitor. Symptoms that can necessitate colonoscopy include;
- Rectal bleeding
- Abdominal pains
- Change in bowel movement
- Change in stool color
What happens during a colonoscopy?
For colonoscopy to be successful, the colon has to be clear of any obstructions that can hinder the clear view of the camera. The gastroenterologist may ask the patient to take a fluid known as oral lavage to help clean your bowels. Besides, the patients may be advised to change their diet weeks before the procedure.
Colonoscopy is done in 30 to 50 minutes. Before the procedure, mild sedation or general anesthesia is administered to the patient to make the process easy and comfortable. The patient is asked to lie on his or her left side with the knees bending towards the head. Once the patient is sedated, the rectum is lubricated to ensure smooth entry of the tube. The tube is then inserted into the rectum and moved gently along the colon. A camera is attached at the tip of the colonoscope and transmits images of the colon on a monitor. The specialist watches the monitor for any abnormalities as the tube is moved around the corners of the colon. The colonoscope also pumps air to expand the colon for a better view.
A special instrument may be inserted through the colonoscope to remove a small piece of tissue or growth from the colon walls for further examination. Once the gastrointestinal specialist is satisfied with the results of the procedure, the colonoscope is removed after which the patient is taken to the recovery room until the sedation effect wears off. The specialist then discusses the results of the procedure with the patient and advises him or her accordingly. There are two types of results namely;
Positive results: means that abnormal tissue was found on the walls of the colon.
Negative results: dictates that there are no abnormalities in the colon.
Risks of colonoscopy
Every medical procedure including colonoscopy has its own share of side effects. The common risks associated with colonoscopy include;
- Reaction to the sedative medicine
- Minor bleeding during bowel movement
- Presence of too much gas in the colon
The rare risks are:
- Tearings on the bowel
- Excessive bleeding