A colonoscopy is a medical procedure. A doctor that is specialised in the treatment of gut problems uses a colonoscopy to examine the lower part of your large bowel, known as the colon. The scope comprises a flexible tube with a light at the end. It is moved slowly through your back passage as far as the first part of your colon.
The doctor looks for polyps, bleeding, masses and other problems. Samples of the bowel tissue can also be taken for detailed cellular analysis if required.
There are various reasons why a colonoscopy could be helpful. Most are carried out as part of the screening for colon cancer. However, it is also used to investigate other bowel problems such as abdominal pain, passing blood or diarrhoea.
People who have a personal or family history of polyps may be monitored with regular colonoscopy, as well as those people who have chronic bowel conditions such as Chrohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
Before the invention of colonoscopy in the 1960s, the only way to visualise your gut properly would have been to have an operation to open your abdominal cavity. While X rays, ultrasound scans, barium enemas and sigmoidoscopy could give some clues of the health of your colon, there is no way that a detailed eyes-on examination of the lower bowel would have been possible otherwise.
The colonoscopy is a relatively safe and straightforward process, which unlike an open operation does not require general anaesthetic. It is also less invasive but will also allow concurrent therapeutic intervention, such as removal of any polyps that may be found during the colonoscopy procedure.
The colon must be completely clear to ensure adequate examination. This means that prior to the colonoscopy examination, you must drink a liquid preparation that removes any residual stool.
It is likely that the examination will be performed under a light sedation. For this reason, your heart, blood pressure and breathing will be carefully monitored until the sedation wears off at the end of colonoscopy. People who are sedated usually remember little about what happened. However, if you prefer you can opt for no sedation at all: in this case you will be able to move your body to help the doctor perform the colonoscopy and there is the added benefit of a reduced recovery time.
So, examination of your colon via colonoscopy is relatively straightforward and has few side-effects. If you are concerned about bowel disease, then colonoscopy, biopsy and removal of polyps can go some way towards achieving your best bowel health. On the other hand, if your colonoscopy shows a healthy colon you can be reassured, and you can stop worrying!
At Ramsay Health Care we are proud to work in partnership with some of the highest qualified and experienced ophthalmologist, orthopaedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, pain management consultants and physiotherapists in the UK. Our holistic care offers you the best treatment!
At Ramsay you won’t have to wait for an appointment for your colonoscopy. Your treatment may be covered by medical insurance and self-pay packages are available on request. We have first class facilities and all self-funding and most privately insured patients can enjoy our Premium Care offering exclusive benefits including superb food, a relaxing environment, priority access and appointments to suit your lifestyle. Our aim is to help you feel like a guest as well as a patient.
Please contact us for more information.