Colonoscopy involves passing a small television camera, via the anus, round the whole of the colon, to the point where the colon joins the small bowel. This called complete colonosocpy. Colonoscopy uses the same instruments as Flexible Sigmoidoscopy but the instrument is passed further into the colon. As far as it is possible to go infact.
Colonoscopy is used to inspect the whole of the lining of the bowel and is a mainstay in the detection and prevention of colon cancer. Colonoscopy is usually undertaken in an endoscopy unit as the equipment involved is expensive and the requirements for sterility of the scopes is very strict.
Prior to the investigation you will have been asked to take some medicine called Bowel Prep this will clean out your system and ensure that the whole of your colon is clean so that it can be inspected. It is very important that you follow the instructions for the bowel prep. If you have any querys regarding your bowel prep please contact The East Preston Clinic.
Prior to your investigation you will be offered sedation which will make sure that the procedure is as comfortable as possible.
During the investigation the telescope will be manipulated through your colon until the it reaches the junction between the large and small bowel, the Ileo-caecal valve. Once this has been seen the insertion is complete. This should normally take between 5 and 10 minutes. Completion is very important, you should ask your colonoscopist what their completion rate is. Usually an expert colonoscopist will maintain a completion rate above 90%.
The telescope is then withdrawn and lining of the bowel inspected. It is quite difficult to see all of the lining of the bowel and so this may take a little longer perhaps 10 to 15 minutes. Generally insertion is more uncomfortable than withdrawl but neither should be very painful.
Colonoscopy can reveal many of the problems that occur in the colon;
Diverticular disease along with benign polyps is one of the most common finding and is also present in about 30% of patients.
Cancers are very rare however if there is an abnormality in your colon that could be a cancer it will be biopsied and marked by a tatoo placed into the lining of the bowel.
Inflammation of the lining of the bowel called Inflammatory bowel disease. This can be confirmed by biopsy and the apprpriate referral made to a Medical Gastroenterologist.