What is Colonoscopy?
Dr. Kam Ming Hian
MBBS (Singapore), M.Med (Surgery)
FRCSEd, FAMS

Senior Consultant,
Colorectal Surgeon

A colonoscopy is a specialized examination that allows your Singapore colorectal surgeon to look inside your large intestine (colon). A colonoscope is a long thin and flexible tube with a high definition video camera attached to one end and controls at the other end. This allows your doctor to guide the colonoscope safely to the areas to be examined.

  • Why Do I Need This Procedure?

    This test is usually recommended for evaluation of symptoms of the colon (such as bleeding, change in bowel patterns, abdominal discomfort) or for colorectal cancer screening. The large intestine is the site of numerous disorders such as haemorrhoids or piles, inflammation, polyps and cancer. If needed, and where technically possible, treatment can also be performed through the colonoscope, at the same examination. For example, a polyp can be painlessly removed through the colonoscope using electrocautery (electrical heat).

  • What Does It Involve?

    You will need to take medication (6 – 8 glasses) to clean out your large intestine the evening before the test, so that clear views can be obtained. During the procedure, everything will be done to make you as comfortable as possible. Colonoscopy is done with you lying on your left side. An injection of a sedative and painkiller is usually given to make you relaxed and go into a light sleep. Your pulse and oxygen level will be monitored with a finger-probe throughout the procedure.

    Lubricant will be applied into your anus. A fingertip examination of the anal canal is first carried out. The colonoscope is then gently introduced into the anus and steered through the entire large intestine. The entire procedure takes between 15 to 20 minutes. In cases where a polyp removal is necessary, it may take 10 – 15 minutes longer, depending on the number of polyps to be removed.

  • What Are The Possible Complications From A Colonoscopy?

    Although colonoscopy is a safe procedure, complications can sometimes occur. The 2 main risks are: bleeding and bowel perforation and occur in less than 1 in 1000 cases (0.1%). The risk is increased with procedures such as polyp removal because removal of a polyp creates a small ulcer that can sometimes bleed and the thinned-out area of polyp removal can lead to a perforation. Heavy bleeding after removal of a polyp sometimes requires transfusion or reinsertion of the colonoscope to control the bleeding.

  • What Can I Expect After The Colonoscopy?

    After the procedure, you will be brought to the recovery area for monitoring and observation. You should not drive or operate machinery on the same day. For this reason, someone else should preferably be available to accompany you home. Your doctor will make an appointment for you to let you know the findings of the colonoscopy, answer any questions you may have and, if needed, discuss future treatment.

  • What Are Your Options?

    Alternative tests to colonoscopy include a barium enema or a CT colonography. Both are specialized forms of x-rays that outline the colon and allow a diagnosis to be made. Study of the stools and blood can also provide indirect information about a colon condition. These exams, however, do not allow direct viewing of the colon, removal of polyps, or tissue samples of abnormal findings. In addition, x-rays require exposure to radiation which is undesirable in children and young women of child-bearing age. For these reasons, Colonoscopy is the recommended Gold Standard for colonic examination.

Top