What risks are involved in a Colonoscopy?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Apr 06, 2013

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What risks are involved in a Colonoscopy

The risks of colonoscopy would include heavy bleeding, intestinal perforation which is basically poking a hole in the gut, infection, adverse reaction to the sedatives, and also bowel infection. You must however know that such complications rarely do occur and are in fact far less common with colonoscopies that are not involved in the removal of polyp.

[Read: Preparing for Colonoscopy]

Colonoscopy Risks becoming Colonoscopy Complications

You may contemplate the chances of these risks turning into complications, but you may want to know the results of studies that show that chances are rare.

A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine provided some insight on this.

Researchers in the study reviewed colon cancer screening data from 1966 to 2001, and they discovered the following:

  • Perforation occurred in 0.029 percent to 0.72 percent of colonoscopies.
  • Heavy bleeding occurred in 0.2 percent to 2.67 percent of colonoscopies.
  • Death occurred in about 0.003 percent to 0.03 percent of colonoscopies.

Minimizing Colonoscopy Risks?

Your doctor needs to have a clear view while navigating the colon, and so here are some suggestions:

  • You must pick someone whose job it is to do colonoscopies, and not just your regular family doctor.
  • Keep an experienced anesthesiologist present beside you in case you have an adverse reaction to the sedative.
  • It should be done near or in a hospital, so that if bowel perforation occurs, you can get it repaired right away.

A study published in Gastroenterology Nursing found that colonoscopy risks, duration, and discomfort could be minimized if the doctor used certain abdominal pressure techniques during the procedure. Hence you can ask your doctor if he could use such techniques, only if it is safe and plausible.

Read more articles on Colonoscopy


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