How is this procedure done?
Before the procedure, the patient is put on laxatives and diet control for a period of two
weeks. The patient is meant to fast the night before the procedure to clean out the bowel as
much as possible to allow easy visibility of the mucosa. Right before the procedure, patient
consent is taken and the whole procedure is explained to them.
The patient puts on a hospital gown and lays on their left side on the table with
knees brought to the chest. They are put under general anesthesia and the anal area is sterilely
readied for the procedure. Air is filled into the colon to allow maximum visualization of the
mucosa. Using a colonoscope, it is inserted via the anal orifice, up into the rectum, sigmoid
colon, descending colon, transverse colon, ascending colon to the ileum. Biopsies of abnormal areas are taken for
further investigation. Random biopsies can also be taken to rule out microscopic colitis. The
colonoscope is slowly withdrawn as the mucosa is still being examined. The patient is
discharged on the same day unless there’s a complication. The biopsies taken are submitted
to the lab for investigations.
There are various risks encountered during colonoscopy. Intestinal perforation is rare abut can happen
when the colonoscope is being manipulated through the lumen. It can also arise after a
polypectomy. These perforations are managed by bed rest and watchful waiting and
antibiotics but if they are large tears, a surgical repair is necessary.
Thepatient might feel bloated due to the gas put in the colon but it soon resolves. Slight bleeding
normally occurs if a biopsy was taken, they should report back to the doctor if the bleeding is
excessive immediately. Slight bowel and rectal irritation or pain is likely after the anesthesia
wears off but this is managed by adequate administration of analgesics. If the pain persists
and the patient develops a fever, the patient should immediately go back to the doctor as this signifies
the onset of an infection.