What is Colonoscopy?
In Singapore, a colonscope is a soft fiber-optic endoscope that is used to survey the rectum and colon. It is about as thick as the index finger. It has a camera inside and the image is displayed on a monitor.
It is inserted through the anus and can reach as far as the cecum, appendix and the terminal ileum.
What can be seen during colonoscopy?
The images are displayed in real time on a monitor and even small lesions can be detected accurately. The doctor will be looking out for polyps, tumors, diverticular diseases and abnormal colonic linings.
If a polyp is detected, it can be removed immediately and painlessly.
If a suspicious lesion is seen, a biopsy can be done to confirm the diagnosis.
There are many procedures that can be done during the colonoscopy, including application of special lasers to stop bleeding.
When should I come for Colonoscopy?
The recommended age for colorectal cancer screening is 50 years old.
If there is a family history of colorectal cancers or polyps in relatives younger than 60 years old, then the patient should come for screening 10 years earlier than the age of the affected relative. For example if the father is affected at the age of 55, the children should come for screening at 45 years old.
How frequently should Colonoscopy be repeated?
Low risk Patients
High risk patients
i.e. those with positive family history etc
Higher risk patients
If a polyp is found
What do I need to do before coming for my colonoscopy?
1. The patient will need to take some medication to clean out the colon the day before the colonoscopy procedure. The cleaner the colon, the more accurate the colonoscopy will be.
2. It is also recommended that the patient consume a low fiber diet the day before as fibers are not digested and contribute to fecal bulk.
Do I need to be admitted and stay overnight after my colonoscope?
Colonoscopy is done as a day procedure. After the test, the patient typically rests for an hour to recover from sedation. Once recovered the patient may be discharged. Medical leave is provided in Singapore.
Can Medisave be used for Colonoscopy in Singapore?
Yes. Medisave can be claimed for this procedure. Ask us or book an appointment for details.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COLONOSCOPY AND GASTROSCOPY?
Gastroscopy is similar to colonoscopy except it is used to survey the stomach and the duodenum. It is inserted through the mouth and also done under sedation. It should take no more than 10-15 minutes to complete.
Our colorectal doctor can perform both colonoscopy as well as gastroscopy. If indicated, both gastroscopy and colonoscopy can be performed in one session and the patient discharged on the same day.
Is the procedure painful and will I need general anesthesia?
When done correctly by a properly accredited endoscopist, the procedure is not painful. The patient might feel some bloating and sensation of wanting to go to the toilet, but there will not be any sharp pain or severe discomfort. In most patients it can be completed in 15-20 minutes.
Colonoscopy is comfortably done under intravenous drug sedation. General anesthetics is not recommended as it would mean that the patient requires artificial ventilation and a specialist anesthetist will need to be around to monitor the patient for safety reasons.
I am really afraid of a colonoscopy. What are my other options?
– Barium Enema. This involves infusing radio-opaque contrast into the colon and rectum, and a series of X rays taken. This is however dated technology.
– More recently there is CT colonoscopy or Virtual Colonoscopy whereby the X ray images of the colon are reconstructed in 3D by computers. This can detect even small polyps in well prepared colons.
However one must bear in mind that however accurate the CT scan images are, it is still not possible to perform interventions like polyp removal, taking biopsy or to stop bleeding.
Barium enemas and CT colonoscopy are ordered only if the patient is unable to undergo a colonoscopy for whatever reason. Colonoscopy for now is still the gold standard in cancer detection.