Colonoscopy refers to the endoscopic or camera examination carried out on the large bowel or colon. It is accepted as being one of the most effective bowel cancer screening methods.
What is a colonoscopy?
Procedures are carried out by experienced London endoscopists such as Mr Windsor using a colonoscope; a long flexible tube which holds a small video camera. The colonoscope is guided through the whole length of the colon up to the start of the small bowel, also known as the terminal ileum. An endoscopist can then carefully the whole colon with images seen on a monitor.
The endoscopy examination typically lasts for twenty minutes to half an hour. Most patients will receive some gentle sedation during the procedure to alleviate any discomfort. Some patients, however, do not feel the need for this. If any abnormality is seen during the colonoscopy the endoscopist can either remove of biopsy these areas. This is not painful.
Reasons to undergo a colonoscopy
There are several reasons why a colonoscopy may be performed. They include rectal bleeding, bowel habit alterations, weight loss, anaemia, suspected polyp, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhoea, and as part of the monitoring process for conditions like inflammatory bowel disease. A colonoscopy may also be performed as part of a general health check.