1. What is worth knowing about colonoscopy?

There are two types of examinations which can be carried out in the lower part of the intestines: colonoscopy, which focuses on the large intestines and rectum and sigmoidoscopy which examines from the rectum to the sigmoid colon.

These endoscope examinations can diagnose inflammation in the large intestine, polyps, cancer, and also to carry out biopsy. It can help to localise intestinal bleedings and sources and causes of pains. The examination is carried out through the rectum, so it is important that the colon and rectum must be completely empty using laxatives or an enema if needed.

The physician inserts a short, flexible, 10-12mm diameter lit tube into the rectum and slowly guides it into the colon.

The video camera in the endoscope transmits an image of the inside of the rectum and colon, so the physician can carefully examine the lining of these organs. In some cases it is only needed to examine the intestine part from the rectum to the sigmoid colon (sigmoidoscopy), in other cases the whole large intestine is checked. The scope also blows air into these organs, which may cause a feeling of pressure, gassiness, which doesn’t last long. The procedure takes 12-15 minutes but it can take longer in some cases. The patient cannot feel it if a biopsy is carried out during the examination.

In case of colonoscopy you can get intravenous sedation, in case of sigmoidoscopy it is not necessary.

2. What are colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy good for?

They are good for diagnosing illnesses and they are effective tools to do therapy treatments (e.g. removing polyps).

The examinations of the large intestines can help in locating inflammations, polyps, and cancers and track down intestinal bleedings and sources and causes of pains.

It is also possible to carry out a biopsy, which helps to make accurate diagnoses. The biopsy is not painful, as the patient cannot feel the procedure. The advantage of the procedure is that it provides quick and accurate diagnosis and evidence.

We can provide diagnostic examinations on-the-spot, and we can also arrange a biopsy if required.

3. Risks and possible complication of the procedure

  • Over-reaction to the medication or sedation injection.
  • Bleeding or perforation caused by the procedure.
  • Epilepsy or heart pace trouble.
  • Complication may occur caused by the procedure which needs emergency operation (1 case in every 10,000).

Lidocain gel can be used to anaesthetise the rectum. Dormicum (Midozolam) injection can be used but it can also cause amnesia (in this case the patient will not remember the uncomfortable procedure). Dormicum can only be used after consulting with an expert.

4. Risks and possible complication of the lack of the procedure

Not choosing the above mentioned examinations may grow the risk of inflammations, cancer, polyps which could be found and healed with these methods.

5. Preparation for the examinations

The patient should only eat food which is low in fibre (mashed potatoes, bread, liquid, soup etc.).

The patient can only have breakfast the day before the procedure, and only fluids can be consumed later in the day. 3-4 litres of fluid must be drunk a day. Early afternoon, the patient has to take an X-prep or similar laxative and drink approximately 3 litres of fibre free liquid (mineral water, tea). This starts the cleaning of the large intestine so the patient will have to go to the toilet very often in this phase. This will be finished by the evening, so the night will be undisturbed for the patient. People suffering from diabetes have to consult their doctor to prepare for the procedure.

On the day of the procedure the patient has to drink 3-4 dl fluid (tea, mineral water, cafe latte) and go to the Endoscope Laboratory. If the cleaning of the large intestines proves to have been successful, only an enema is needed to clean the end of the bowel.

6. Post procedure activities

If the patient receives a sedative injection then he/she cannot drive a car on the day. Nausea and tiredness may also occur. Rest is recommended for some time after the procedure. The patient has to be given a lift home later.

If any unusual symptoms occur after the procedure, we ask you to contact your doctor immediately.


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