At a glance
A colonoscopy is a procedure done to diagnose and treat conditions of the colon and rectum. A colonoscopy is done using a thin tube that has a camera attached to the end. This camera allows Dr Maraj to visualise the lower intestinal tract. It may be recommended by your doctor to explore the cause of unexplained changes in bowel habits, pain in the abdomen, unexplained constipation, diarrhoea or weight loss, or to screen for colon and rectal cancer. Diverticular disease, haemorrhoids, chronic polyps, colon or rectal cancer, vascular causes for bleeding, inflammatory bowel disease, infections and ulceration are common diagnoses that may be found during a colonoscopy.
How to prepare for the procedure
Before a colonoscopy, Dr Maraj will advise you on how to prepare for the procedure. You will need to restrict eating and drinking 24 hours before the procedure and flush your colon with a laxative. A colonoscopy is usually done on an outpatient basis, under conscious sedation. While you will be awake for the procedure, you will be sedated, and the procedure should only be mildly uncomfortable. You may be required to stay in hospital post-procedure, based on the findings or if any complications occurred.
What a colonoscopy involves
While you are under conscious sedation, the procedure is performed, but if medically indicated, Dr Maraj may advise a general anaesthetic instead. The endoscope will then be gently inserted into your anus and guided through the rectum and colon. Since the endoscope is fitted with a camera at the end, your surgeon will be able to watch as the tube passes through the rectum into the colon on a monitor. Dr Maraj will then inflate your colon with air to allow for better visuals of the tissues so that an accurate diagnosis can be made and treatment can be planned accordingly. Abnormal tissues will be biopsied. Your surgeon may also perform endoscopic intervention or surgery if the need arises. If an abnormality was detected, the area might be tattooed for the future location of the abnormal pathology.
What to expect post-procedure
Afterwards, you can expect some bloating, gas and cramping, as well as some slight pain and a small amount of bleeding.
In some cases where surgery may be needed, Dr Maraj may advise having the procedure done under general anaesthesia so that if surgery is required, you are prepped. If this is the case, you may need to stay in the hospital overnight for observation after the procedure or surgery. If you were put under general anaesthesia or conscious sedation for a colonoscopy, you would only be able to go home once the sedation has worn off and you have someone to drive you.
This is a guide to assist you with a basic understanding of the procedure. Any further information can be discussed with Dr Maraj directly.
Risks & complications
Guidelines and protocols are followed to prevent complications, and you will be closely monitored for complications such as bleeding and perforation of the colon. This will be appropriately treated and may require hospitalisation and further intervention.
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