What is a colonoscopy and why is it done?

Colonoscopy is a safe, painless, and short procedure (takes 15 to 20 minutes).

It is recommended as a preventive examination in those over 45 years of age but also in younger ages with a family history of colonic cancer.

Colonoscopy is the most effective preventative test for early detection of polyps and colon cancer, which is the third most common cause of cancer death in the world for men and women, and can be completely cured if treated early. Through colonoscopy we can examine the large intestine and the final part of the small intestine (terminal ileum). In addition to cancer, other conditions diagnosed include inflammation of the bowel, diverticular disease, and causes of bleeding in the colon, while therapeutic interventions can be performed such as polypectomy, bleeding control by placing a clip or by APC (Argon Plasma), dilatation of strictures, stent placement, etc.

In addition to the preventive nature of the test, colonoscopy is also used to investigate symptoms like persistent abdominal pain, flatulence, recent onset of constipation or diarrhea or alternating diarrhea and constipation, feeling of incomplete emptying, bleeding from the anus or other symptoms which may indicate colon disease.

It is the safest and best method of examination for the above symptoms because an accurate diagnosis can be made and confirmed by taking biopsies where is indicated, while it also allows simultaneous therapeutic intervention. It is the best way to find the cause of bleeding from the lower digestive tract.

The latest technology Fujifilm Eluxeo 700 endoscopes with “CAD EYE” technology for detecting polyps that we use help a lot in detecting even very small lesions.

In order to be able to perform the examination, it is necessary to thoroughly clean the colon with a specific diet in the previous two days and laxatives the afternoon before the test.

Proper preparation is very important because otherwise the test is not reliable and sometimes it can even be impossible.

You can download or read our detailed preparation instructions.

Most medications are continued normally until the night before the test. However, some may affect the preparation of the test. Let us know if you are taking anticoagulants (Warfarin, Xarelto, Eliquis, heparin, clopidogrel – Plavix, etc.), or iron supplements.

Don’t forget to report any allergies to medications.

In case of pregnancy please let us know.

The patient comes to the appointment with an escort and not alone as he/she is not allowed to drive after the examination.

Colonoscopy is performed under the influence of sedation, so the patient does not feel anything during the examination.

Arriving at the endoscopy unit, a nurse will take you to the examination preparation area and will receive the consent form for the examination that you have signed. Then you will wear a robe of the endoscopy unit. You will also need to remove artificial dentures as well as eyeglasses that will be kept safe by the unit’s staff until the end of the test.

The examination is performed with the patient lying on the examination bed on the left hand side. A special sensor is placed on the patient’s finger to record pulses and oxygen saturation in the blood during the examination. A tube is placed in a vein in your arm (vein catheter) through which you will be given mild sedation which will relax you and the examination will be very well tolerated.

The test is done through a flexible thin tube called a colonoscope that has less thickness than the index finger of your hand. Also, because the test is done with carbon dioxide and not air, the feeling of bloating is almost zero after the test. In this way colonoscopy does not hurt during or after the test.

The doctor will pass a thin and extremely flexible endoscope (colonoscope) with a tiny camera in the anus and guide it through the rectum and the rest of the colon. The colonoscope inflates the bowel with carbon dioxide to give the doctor a better picture. This detailed image is transferred to a special high-definition screen, allowing the doctor to carefully examine the large intestine and, if appropriate, using suitable forceps passing through the colonoscope to take biopsies.

After the examination, do not rush to get out of bed on your own, wait for the instructions the doctor or nursing staff.

After the examination, the patient wakes up in a few minutes. He/she stays in bed for a while and then talks to the doctor about the results of the test and if necessary, treatment is given.

The patient is not allowed to drive or operate machinery for a few hours as his reflexes may be reduced due to anaesthesia.

You will be able to eat after your departure unless your doctor tells you otherwise.

Colonoscopy is a very safe examination and when the doctor is experienced in performing colonoscopies complications are rarely reported.

Although complications rarely occur during or after a colonoscopy, contact us in case of severe abdominal pain, fever, vomiting, or if the abdomen is stretched and hard or if you notice significant blood loss in the bowel movements.

In general, colonoscopy is a very safe test.

Note: Colonoscopy can be combined with gastroscopy when the upper digestive tract needs to be checked as well.

INSTRUCTIONS TO BE UNDERTAKEN BEFORE A COLONOSCOPY

7 DAYS BEFORE THE COLONOSCOPY

Please stop taking iron tablets and inform us in case you take any blood thickening pills or plavix.

4 DAYS BEFORE THE COLONOSCOPY

Please stop taking medication that cause constipation (lomotil, Codeine, Phosphate etc), but continue with the rest of your medication.

2 DAYS BEFORE THE COLONOSCOPY

You may eat: boiled or grilled white fish or chicken, eggs, cheeses, white bread, butter, margarine and boiled potatoes.

Avoid foods with high fibre contend e.g. red meat, fruits, vegetables, cereals, salads, mushrooms, pulse beans, brown bread.

1 DAY BEFORE THE COLONOSCOPY

Please have a breakfast from the previous list.  After breakfast you must not eat anything else.  You must drink fluids (water, tea, sprite).

You may also have jelly for lunch.

At 14:00 dissolve one sachet of Picoprep in 150ml of cold water (Repeat at 18:00). After taking the first sachet you must drink at least 1 glass of fluids every 20 minutes until 24:00. Don’t worry if Picoprep doesn’t have any effect right away.

DAY OF EXAMINATION

You may drink water in the morning if it is needed, but nothing else is permitted.

Drink 4 Litres of fluids daily, except juices!!!

No foods containing sesame, seeds or grains