Colonoscopy is a gold standard for diagnostics of suspected colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, gastrointestinal bleeding of unknown etiology, as well as a preventative method for people who have a higher risk for the development of colon cancer. Apart from serving as a diagnostic method, colonoscopy can also be curative by removal of polyps with the help of electro-loops and thus preventing the development of colon cancer in a non-operative way.
An examination should be made each time when the rhythm of defecating changes relatively suddenly, if periods of constipation alternating with the onset of diarrhea occur, if unexplainable pain in the abdomen or blood in the stool appear etc.
Colonoscopy is recommended for all individuals that have colon cancer in their family medical history. It is advisable for such people to have a colonoscopy at least 10 years before the age in which a close family member has developed colon cancer (if a member of the family is ill in the age of 35, you should be examined when you reach the age of 25). Colonoscopy is also recommended as a preventive screening for people over fifty years of age due to increased incidence of colon cancer in the general population of normal risk (for those without cancer occurrence in family medical records).
A sample of tissue for analysis (biopsy) may be taken during the examination. This procedure is painless.
HOW IS COLONOSCOPY PERFORMED?
During colonoscopy the patient is lying on their left side, and a flexible tube thick approximately as of your index finger, and with camera and light on the top (colonoscope), is inserted through the anus into the colon. Afterwards, the colonoscope slowly and carefully advances through the rectum and the entire colon, all the way to the small intestine. During the examination, a small amount of air is inflated into the colon, allowing proper analysis of the large intestine wall.
Examination can sometimes be painful and cause a sense of flatulence. It usually lasts from ten to thirty minutes. In patients who had previous abdominal surgery, were radiated, or have a low tolerance for pain, anesthesia during colonoscopy is recommended.
After the examination, you may have a feeling of discomfort and mild cramps in the abdomen, sometimes with the urge to defecate, mainly because of the air that is inflated into the colon through the colonoscope during your examination. If you have been in anesthesia, you will stay in our Polyclinic for some time, no longer than an hour, to fully wake up before leaving.
Your doctor will immediately report you with findings of the examination, and if a biopsy for pathohistological analysis is taken, you will get results in a few days.
The success of colonoscopy depends on the collaboration between the patient and the team performing the colonoscopy. Sometimes due to badly cleansed gut, anatomy, paraplegia or an ovarian inflammation, or for similar reasons, it is impossible to perform a thorough examination. Then the doctor suggests a follow-up colonoscopy with possible sedation (anesthesia), or some other method for examination of the intestine.
Sometimes the colonoscopy is painful due to anatomical variations, fibrosis or scarring by surgery, to people with hypersensitivity or to people who have a weaker body constitution etc. A short-term intravenous sedation (anesthesia) is recommended in such cases.