An endoscope is a thin tube-like instrument fitted with a camera at the end. An endoscopy is used to diagnose and treat conditions of the internal gastrointestinal tract. When an endoscopy is done through the anus to view the internal state of the rectum and colon, it is called a colonoscopy.
Why might a colonoscopy be needed?
A lower GI endoscopy or colonoscopy may be done for diagnostic, therapeutic and interventional reasons. For those suffering from symptoms of a gastrointestinal condition such as abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, chronic constipation and chronic diarrhoea a colonoscopy may be done to diagnose the underlying cause. A colonoscopy may also be done to screen for rectal or colon cancer by looking for the presence of polyps in the lining of the colon and rectum.
A colonoscopy may also be done in cases where a patient may have hereditary familial conditions such as hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, a history of colon cancer or inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis in order to view the internal condition of colon and rectum. Polyps or other abnormalities encountered during the colonoscopy can also be removed or biopsied for analysis with the use of a colonoscopy.
For many, a colonoscopy may be able to diagnose certain conditions that give patients an answer to their many symptoms they may be experiencing. This provides many with hope that with a diagnosis, treatment may be provided. In these cases, Dr Mokhele can help begin the treatment process and enhance the quality of life of many patients who have been suffering for years with an undiagnosed condition.
What does colonoscopy involve?
Prior to a colonoscopy, your gastroenterologist will ensure that your stomach and bowels are empty. Dr Mokhele will instruct you to stop eating any food 24 hours before your colonoscopy, and that you take a laxative to flush out the colon before your procedure.
A colonoscopy is usually done in a theatre or day theatre on an outpatient basis. This means you will not need general anaesthesia, but you will be given a sedative to relax you. While the procedure won't be painful, it may be a bit uncomfortable. While you lie on your side, your gastroenterologist will insert a thin endoscope fitted with a camera into the anus and slowly move the endoscope into the rectum and up the colon. The camera will provide your gastroenterologist with an internal video of the rectum and colon and allow him to view any abnormalities. The endoscope is also fitted with a tube that allows your gastroenterologist to pump air into the colon to inflate it. This will help get a better view of the lining of the colon and make a more accurate diagnosis. If any abnormal tissues or polyps are found, Dr Mokhele may pass tiny tools through the endoscope to take a sample of the tissue to have it tested. The entire colonoscopy should last only 30 minutes.
Because you have had a sedative for the procedure, you will need to wait for it to wear off before you can go home. You will also need to have someone drive you. Mild bloating, gas and cramping after a colonoscopy are normal. Any bleeding in the stool, fever or chills are however not normal and may require emergency intervention.
Gastrocure, Eastern Cape
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