The term “colonoscopy” means looking inside the colon. This procedure is performed by a gastroenterologist, a subspecialist proficiently trained in examining the digestive or GI tract. The primary function of the colon is to store unabsorbed food products before elimination.

What is a Colonoscope?

The primary tool used in this procedure is the colonoscope - a long, thin, flexible tube equipped with a video camera and light. By manipulating its controls, the gastroenterologist can get a clear, detailed view from inside the colon, a method more precise than x-rays.

  • Purpose of the Procedure: Besides viewing, the procedure allows the introduction of other instruments through the colonoscope for purposes like removing growths or taking biopsies. Thus, colonoscopy can help in defining surgical interventions if needed.
  • IMG
  • Sigmoidoscope vs Colonoscope: A shorter instrument called a sigmoidoscope is designed for examining only the lower part of the large bowel. In contrast, the colonoscope can inspect the entirety of the large bowel and even parts of the small intestine.
  • For a more detailed insight into the procedure and its preparation, watch this informative video.

Procedure Explained: How is Colonoscopy Performed?

  • Preparation: An IV line provides medication to ensure you're relaxed yet cooperative throughout the process.
  • Procedure Initiation: A preliminary rectal examination is done before gently inserting the lubricated colonoscope.
  • Sensations During the Procedure: As the scope advances, you might feel an urge for bowel movement or experience cramping due to air introduction. However, discomfort is typically minimal.
  • Post-Procedure: The procedure generally lasts about 30 minutes. Once done, you'll recover from the medication's effects, and the doctor will brief you on the findings and post-procedure guidelines.

Why is Colonoscopy Necessary?

  • It serves as an effective tool for diagnosing issues like blood loss, pain, and changes in bowel habits.
  • It detects and addresses bowel bleeding.
  • The procedure is instrumental in detecting and treating colon cancer and colon polyps.
  • It’s also an essential screening procedure for those with a familial history of colon cancer.

Risks and Complications of Colonoscopy

  • Although generally safe, there can be complications like perforation, haemorrhage, medication-related allergies or side effects, and infection risks. Discuss any concerns with your doctor for clarity.