Colonoscopy

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A colonoscopy is the examination of the colon (large intestine and bowel) with a video camera which is attached to a flexible tube with a light at the tip, and is passed through the anus. A colonoscopy helps to locate ulcers, tumors, polyps, and areas of inflammation. It also allows for tissue samples (biopsies) to be collected which can then be later tested as well as the opportunity to remove any abnormal growths. Colonoscopies are also used to screen for precancerous growths and to check for cancer.

WHEN IS A COLONSCOPY NEEDED?

Colonoscopies are performed for a variety of reasons. If there is a blood in the stool, unexplained changes in bowel habit, diarrhea, or abdominal pain, then a colonoscopy is usually performed. In addition, if the patient has undergone a colonic x-ray or CT scan which have shown abnormalities, then a colonoscopy is normally the next step to take to determine any underlying problems. Patients who have a family history of colonic cancer are advised to have regular colonoscopies to ensure that there are no signs of cancer. Patients who are over the age of 50 are also recommended to have a colonoscopy to screen for polyps and cancer and to then go for screening after every 10 years. Catching polyps early on is very significant as they can progress to becoming cancerous and early detection is important.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR A COLONOSCOPY?

Before undergoing a colonoscopy, the patient must clear out the colon to make it empty, to enable the camera to be easily maneuvered once inserted. 1 to 3 days before the procedure, the patient is asked to not eat red or purple food and drinks, and to stick to a clear liquid diet. On the day before the procedure, the patient will usually take a prescription laxative with specific instructions. Normally this is a powder solution which the patient will need to mix with water and to drink over the course of a few hours, depending on how much of the solution they have been advised to take. This will clear out the bowel, by causing diarrhea. It is advisable that the patient stay in comfortable surroundings with access to a toilet. After taking the colon prep, the patient is not to eat anything until after the procedure.,

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A colonoscopy is an examination of the large intestine, the colon and rectum, using a small camera. It is an exploratory procedure which is performed to establish if there are polyps, ulcers, inflammation, bleeding, cancer or tumors present in the large intestine. It is also performed to establish the causes of chronic diarrhea, sudden weight loss, black stools, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, and to monitor patients with inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Recommended for Diagnosing problems with the large intestine.

Patients over 50 years of age should undergo a colonoscopy to screen for colorectal cancer every 10 years Patients with a family history of colonic cancer Time requirements Number of days in hospital 1 . Overnight stay not required. Average length of stay abroad 3 - 4 days. Patients should arrive at least 2 days before the colonoscopy, as the bowel needs to be cleared the day before the procedure. Patients who have interventional treatment during the colonoscopy, e.g. removal of a polyp, may need slightly longer to recover. A colonoscopy enables the doctor to examine the lining of the large intestine. Time requirements Number of days in hospital 1 . Overnight stay not required. Average length of stay abroad 3 - 4 days. Patients should arrive at least 2 days before the colonoscopy, as the bowel needs to be cleared the day before the procedure.

Patients who have interventional treatment during the colonoscopy, e.g. removal of a polyp, may need slightly longer to recover. Time requirements Number of days in hospital 1 . Overnight stay not required. Average length of stay abroad 3 - 4 days. Patients should arrive at least 2 days before the colonoscopy, as the bowel needs to be cleared the day before the procedure. Patients who have interventional treatment during the colonoscopy, e.g. removal of a polyp, may need slightly longer to recover. A colonoscopy enables the doctor to examine the lining of the large intestine.,

In preparation for the procedure, patients will need to complete a "colon prep" which ensures that their bowels are empty ahead of the procedure. Although methods of clearing the bowels vary, most patients will be asked to adopt an all-liquid diet 1 to 2 days before the procedure. They will also be advised to avoid red or purple food or drinks in the days before the procedure.

The patient is usually prescribed a laxative solution to take the day before the procedure, in order to fully clear the bowels. The amount of solution to be taken, varies with each patient and is generally mixed with 3 to 4 litres of water which is to be taken over the course of a few hours, depending on how much needs to be taken. The solution may not taste very nice and may make patients feel sick. It may make it easier to drink the solution through a straw and to keep it refrigerated once it has been made. It is advisable for patients to have nothing planned the day ahead of the procedure, as they will need to use the toilet often. Patients should keep hydrated and should not eat after the clean prep is complete.,

The patient is usually administered with a light sedation to help them relax during the procedure and is asked to lie on their side with their knees bent. An endoscope fitted with a camera, is inserted into the rectum to allow the doctor to examine the area. The camera is maneuvered through the large intestine and the doctor will examine the images on a screen as it is passed through.

The doctor may take some tissue samples for analysis and any polyps found are usually removed. Anesthesia Usually local, or local with sedation. Procedure duration The Colonoscopy takes 40 to 60 minutes. The endoscope is inserted through the rectum and moved through the large intestine, polyps are usually removed if found.,

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