A colonoscopy is a medical exam that enables doctors to get a detailed view of an individual’s colon (large intestines). This procedure is commonly used by a gastroenterologist to assess the patient’s gastrointestinal health, usually due to symptoms like abdominal pain, GI bleeding, or any changes in bowel movement. A doctor may also recommend a colonoscopy test to a person with no visible symptoms, to verify any sign of colorectal polyps or cancer.

In general, a colonoscopy screening is recommended for people aged 50 and above. It is also recommended to those with family history of the colorectal polyps.

What to Expect?

The gastroenterologist will use a colonoscope (a flexible, long instrument with a plastic coated tube and a small camera attached to send images to the doctor’s viewing screen) to observe the lining of your colon.

The device is directly inserted into the patient’s rectum and progressed through their large intestine. If necessary, a small amount of the rectal tissue may be removed during the test to get a detailed biopsy report.

In most cases, a colonoscopy gives an accurate diagnosis, leading to early detection of colorectal problems, and usually successful treatment without the necessity of major operations.

Before the colonoscopy procedure, a sedative will be given to the patient. Subsequently, the colonoscope will be inserted into the patient’s colon to carefully examine the lining of his/her bowel. After examination, the tube will be gently removed. The entire procedure is performed in the operation theatre and takes approximately 30 minutes. The heart rhythm and oxygen levels of the patient are continuously monitored throughout the procedure.

Colonoscopy Complications

Some of the complications associated with this procedure are:

  • Rectal Bleeding (if a doctor performs biopsy)
  • Allergic reaction (due to sedative)
  • Tearing/Perforation of the patient’s bowel wall