A colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure performed to detect and remove any abnormal growths in the colon and rectum. It is highly recommended as an effective screening examination for colorectal cancers. This procedure involves inserting a thin, flexible instrument (attached to a small light and camera) through the rectum and across the entire length of the colon to visualise the lining of the colon in real time. At the same time, the surgeon will be able to identify abnormalities along the way (e.g. colon polyps) and even remove them on the spot. Colonoscopy is used in the diagnosis of various gastrointestinal disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer.
A colonoscopy is a specialised examination that allows our Singapore colorectal surgeon to visualise the large intestine (colon). By inserting a long and flexible tube with a HD video camera attached to one end known as a colonoscope, our doctor is able to guide the camera safely to the areas to be examined and detect any growths.
People who are at higher risk of colorectal cancer, or are displaying abnormal signs and symptoms of a gastrointestinal disorder, are usually recommended to go for a colonoscopy in Singapore. In addition to diagnosing abnormalities, a colonoscopy can also allow the surgeon to obtain tissue samples on the spot for a biopsy. A colonoscopy is performed under sedation and takes about 20 to 30 minutes to complete.
Due to colorectal cancer’s slow-developing and detectable nature, undergoing timely regular screening can effectively keep it at bay. If you are above the age of 50 and have a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, you may be due for a colonoscopy.
This screening 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 where numerous disorders occur, such as haemorrhoids (piles), inflammation, polyps and cancer. If needed, treatment can also be performed at the same examination; for example, a polyp can be painlessly removed via the colonoscope using electrocautery (electrical heat).
Prior to having a colonoscopy in Singapore, patients will be given specific instructions to prepare themselves for the procedure. This includes dietary restrictions and taking strong laxatives to clear out the colon, ensuring maximum visibility during the procedure. While this process is uncomfortable, it is crucial as incomplete clearance of the colon can either cause the doctor to miss seeing certain abnormalities, or even cause the procedure to be postponed altogether.
A colonoscopy is considered a very safe procedure. Complications are rare, especially in the hands of an experienced doctor. Not only is a colonoscopy safe, it is also not as frightening as people deem it to be, as the patient will be sedated beforehand, ensuring that he or she will not feel nor recall anything.
The evening before a colonoscopy, you will need to take laxatives to clean out your large intestine. The procedure is done with you lying on one of your sides. An injection of a sedative and painkiller is usually given to make you relax and go into light sleep, and 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 to 15 minutes longer, depending on the number of polyps to be removed.
Following the colonoscopy, you may temporarily experience bloating or mild stomach cramps, as well as blood in the stool. It is recommended to have someone drive you home after the procedure, as you may feel drowsy from sedation.
Although colonoscopy is a relatively safe procedure, complications can sometimes occur. The 2 main risks are bleeding and bowel perforations with an occurrence of less than 1 in 1000 cases (0.1%). The risk is increased with procedures that require polyp removal because it 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.
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. An appointment will be scheduled to review the findings of the colonoscopy, answer any questions you may have and, if needed, discuss future treatment.
The cost of colonoscopy in Singapore largely depends on where the procedure was carried out (public or private hospital), insurance coverage, doctor’s fee, and whether any additional tests and treatments were needed. Colonoscopy screening is also generally covered by Medisave in Singapore, if the patient is above 50 years old and it is an outpatient procedure.
Generally speaking, the cost of colonoscopy in Singapore can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. For personalised information, please contact our clinic.
Alternative tests to colonoscopy include barium enema and CT colonography. Both are specialised forms of x-ray tests that outline the colon and allow a diagnosis to be made. Study of the stools and blood can also provide some indirect information about the condition of your colon.
These exams, however, do not allow direct visualisation 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 still the preferred gold standard for colonic examination.
With more than two decades of experience managing colorectal conditions, our colorectal surgeon Dr Kam Ming Hian is a well-known figure in the medical arena. As the former Director of Robotics & Minimally Invasive Surgery in the Department of Colorectal Surgery, SGH, Dr Kam has successfully treated many patients, and received multiple awards for service excellence during his career.
He is well-published in international journals and has also been invited to speak at various conferences. To date, colorectal surgeon, Dr Kam has performed thousands of gastroscopy and colonoscopy procedures, and conducted regular endoscopy training courses for the next generation of medical students.
20 Years of Colorectal Experience
Skilled in Minimally Invasive & Laparoscopic Techniques
Individualised & Cost Effective Treatment for Every Patient
Medisave and Insurance-Covered Treatment and Procedures
We are proud to provide patients with highly personalised and affordable colorectal treatments in Singapore. At Kam Colorectal Centre, we’ve got your colorectal health covered.
Call +65 6443 1005 or fill in the form below to book a detailed consultation with us.