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A colonoscopy is an endoscopic examination of the large intestine (rectum and colon) with a fibre-optic camera on a flexible tube (a colonoscope). The investigation is carried out by highly skilled and trained private Gastroenterologist.
Through the camera, the specialist can a look for signs of any problems in the colon, such as ulcers, polyps and areas of bleeding or inflammation.
The specialist can also carry out a biopsy or remove any polyps (polypectomy) of suspected lesions during the colonoscopy procedure. A private colonoscopy can even remove polyps smaller than one millimetre! Once polyps are removed, they can be studied with the aid of a microscope to determine if they are precancerous or not.
A colonoscopy is also used to diagnose and monitor inflammatory bowel diseases such as Ulcerative Colitis and Crohns Disease.
It is useful for finding out what is causing symptoms, or as a check-up for certain bowel conditions. Some symptoms which may suggest to the Gastroenterologist that a Colonoscopy would be beneficial include:
Some of the above symptoms may not be caused by any serious illness or diseases. However, sometimes they can be a sign of bowel cancer (colon or colorectal cancer). The Colonoscopy can help with correct diagnosis. A virtual colonoscopy is also used for private bowel cancer screening.
The procedure is routinely done as an outpatient or day case procedure, with no overnight stay. Your private doctor will explain the benefits and risks involved, and will also discuss the alternatives to the procedure. Depending on your symptoms, alternatives may include:
• Sigmoidoscopy – Camera examination
• Virtual colonoscopy – CT scan
• Barium enema – X-Ray examination
We can also arrange for blood tests to detect genetic diseases and screening for the risk of developing bowel cancer.
For your doctor to see the lining of your colon clearly, it needs to be completely empty. To achieve this, you will need to follow a special diet for a few days before the procedure and you will be asked not to eat any solids on the day before your examination. You will also be given a laxative, which will come with detailed instructions on how and when to take it. Your specialist will advise on the specific details before your colonoscopy procedure.
After the private colonoscopy examination, the colonoscope is removed and you may feel bloated and have wind pains, but these clear up quite quickly. The sedative may also make you feel sleepy, therefore driving is not advised until 8 hours after the procedure.
A consultation with a Gastroenterologist consultant is required in the first instance, who will then arrange the procedure at one of our locations: Manchester or Liverpool city center or our diagnostic and surgical centre in Newton-le-Willows.
Signs and symptoms of bowel polyps and bowel cancer - by Consultant Gastroenterologist Dr Subramaniam Ramakrishnan.