Understanding your procedures:
A colonoscopy is an examination of the entire colon, or large intestine. The procedure is performed using a colonoscope, a specialized flexible video transmitting tube which is inserted into the rectum and can be moved through the length of the entire colon. The colonoscope is about 1.5 meters in length and about the width of a large finger. High definition images from the examination are transmitted to a video monitor and carefully inspected by the doctor. Any abnormalities detected can be captured photographically, and the doctor may decide to take samples (biopsies) and send them for microscopic examination by a pathologist (a doctor specializing in examining tissue for abnormalities).
To have the procedure, you will need to prepare by cleaning out the bowel. Detailed instructions for the preparation process will be provided to you at the booking of your procedure, and they can also be viewed online here
. In general, a colonoscopy is a very safe procedure, but, as with any invasive medical procedure, there are some inherent risks. The most serious risk associated with the procedure is a complication known as a perforation, or a hole in the bowel, which may require surgical intervention to repair. The rate of this complication is between 1:2000 and 1:3000.
Polyps are small growths that can form on the inner surface of the colon; they may be flat or raised, dome shaped structures. If not removed, certain types of polyps may continue to grow and eventually develop into colon cancer. If a polyp is discovered during your procedure, the doctor may remove it with a biopsy forceps or a snare, a thin wire that cuts off the polyp. The polyp is collected and sent to the pathologist for examination. You will need to follow up with your doctor to discuss the results of the polyp examination.
An EGD is a visual examination of the
upper gastrointestinal tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach,
and duodenum (the upper part of the small intestine). Equipment used
during this procedure is similar to that which is used for a
colonoscopy, but the scope is shorter and thinner. This procedure may
be necessary due to your symptoms suggesting abnormalities of the
upper gastrointestinal tract. Depending on your symptoms, and the
doctor’s findings during the examination, biopsies, or tissue
samples, may be taken from your esophagus, stomach, and/or duodenum.
These tissue samples will be sent for examination by a pathologist,
and you will need to follow up with your doctor to discuss the
results. An EGD is generally a very safe procedure, with a very small
chance of bleeding due to the biopsies taken.