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Colonoscopic Surgical Procedure: The risks, complications, care needed and more

  • Posted on- Oct 21, 2016
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A Colonoscopy is an endoscopic procedure that uses an optical instrument to examine the inner linings of the large intestine and the distal end of the small intestine. The procedure is also used to extract tissue for lab testing. A colonoscopy involves the anus, parts of the large intestine (rectum, sigmoid colon, and colon), and terminal portion of the small intestine.

What are the reasons to perform a colonoscopy?

  • To examine and diagnose diseases of the colon, rectum, or large intestine
  • View abnormalities and disorder in the inner lining of the intestine
  • Bleeding in stools
  • To remove a foreign object or matter, causing blockage
  • Suspected cancer of the intestine or polyps
  • Extract tissue specimen for lab testing
  • Colonoscopy is a screening method used to check for any abnormal growth in the colon

How a colonoscopy procedure is performed?

  • Before undergoing a Colonoscopy, the physician prescribes laxatives to clear the bowel
  • Next the colonoscope is lubricated and introduced in the large intestine through the anus
  • The colonoscope may be passed through the whole inner lining of the large intestine to examine, diagnose and extract tissue sample for pathological examination
  • In some cases, the physician may immediately decide to treat an abnormality including a polyp and tumour for examination
  • Also, biopsies of large intestine may be performed before withdrawing the colonoscope

The Colonoscopy is performed either by a gastroenterologist or general surgeon along with an anaesthesiologist. The procedure may take around 30-60 minutes to complete.

What are the preparations needed before a colonoscopy procedure?

  • The doctor may evaluate the individual’s medical history to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the overall health status of the patient including information related to the medications that are being currently taken
  • Some medications increase a person’s chances of bleeding and it may be recommended to discontinue them for a period of time, before the procedure is performed
  • Blood tests may be performed to determine if there is a bleeding tendency or any other medical conditions that prevents the person from undergoing the procedure
  • Also, inform the physician, if a barium x-ray test was performed
  • The patient is also suggested a 1 or 2 day preparation procedure, where the patient is asked to follow a liquid diet, 1-2 days before the procedure. The evening before the Colonoscopy, a laxative is prescribed
  • Normally local anaesthesia is not used however, do inform the physician if you are allergic to any local anaesthetics, lidocaine, etc.
  • Avoid application of any deodorant or topical medicines on the area, prior to the procedure
  • It is advisable to quit smoking and the use of any nicotine based products, for a while, before the procedure
  • Consumption of alcoholic drinks must also be avoided for a period of time, as instructed
  • The patient must avoid eating or drinking at least 8 hours prior to the procedure, depending on when the procedure is arranged
  • For persons suffering from diabetes, it is important that the blood sugar stays within the normal range if not their diabetologist may have to control blood sugar by recommending insulin or a combination of oral medicines

Diagnostic lab tests needed before a colonoscopy procedure

Complications during a colonoscopy procedure

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infection
  • Injury to the inner lining of the large intestine
  • Accidental injury to the colon
  • Perforation of the colon

Complications after a colonoscopy procedure

  • Infection
  • Allergy or side effects to the sedative
  • Perforation of the colon
  • Discomfort


user profile image
08-07-2017 04:32 PM

At the age of 30, I was suffering from lower right abdominal pain and had a colonoscopy last Wednesday to try and diagnose the problem.

user profile image
02-02-2017 02:36 PM

At the age of 52, I was diagnosed with rectal cancer. My fear of colonoscopies was nothing compared to my fear of dying from colorectal cancer!

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