Over the past 30 years we have made great strides in the diagnosis of colon and rectal disease. If you’re old enough you may remember or hear of people in doctors’ clinics undergoing a rigorous scope exam called a rigid sigmoidoscopy. This study revealed completely exfoliated lesions in only the lower 1/3 of the colon and most of the colon. Although it was very rudimentary it served us well for many years.
Relatively recently, over the past 30 years, and with the development of fiber optics, the entire colon has been opened up to us for direct visualization. This study is known today as colonoscopy. In the examination, the doctor will pass a small fiber optic scope through the anus and pass it around the entire colon to provide a complete view of the entire inside of the large intestine or the mucosal surface. Lesions or abnormalities inside the colon may be biopsied or removed. This helps doctors diagnose colon diseases faster as well as treat a number of colon conditions. Conditions that were difficult to diagnose in the past are now readily apparent with colonoscopy and biopsy. Many conditions take years to diagnose and are sometimes diagnosed surgically, now without incisions and as an outpatient.
This procedure is routinely performed in an outpatient setting with sedation to make the patient comfortable and in fact most patients have no memory of the study. Since it is not a general anaesthetic, some patients may have some memory of the study.
Polyps are one of the main reasons they occur before the exam. They are usually removed at the time of study. These are small growths in the colon and most are asymptomatic, meaning that the patient and doctor cannot tell that polyps are present until after the colonoscopy. These polyps can develop into colon cancer after being present for many years, so it is important that they be removed to reduce this risk. By removing these polyps, we can reduce the risk and development of colon cancer. The best way is to treat this deadly disease or cancer before it starts and the procedure What is Colonoscopy safe and relatively simple to perform. This simple procedure can go a long way in reducing the risk of developing this common malignancy. To learn more, visit our website.