Realización de colonoscopía para la examinación del intestino grueso o colon

Colonoscopy is the best study available to examine the large intestine or colon. A camera is introduced through the anus, that visualizes the entire mucosa of the colon and the final part of the small intestine, known as the ileum.

What is a Colonoscopy for?

It is the most appropriate method to identify and prevent colon cancer. It is also used in lower digestive bleeding, for example, it can detect a bleeding diverticulum and stop it. Another indication is the study of chronic diarrhea and chronic abdominal pain.

According to Adolfo Ortiz, a public health specialist, colon cancer is the fastest growing cancer in the last 20 years in Costa Rica. Since 1995, among women, cases have increased by 78% and in men, 87%. Mortality rose by 38%. Costa Rica is the third country in Latin America and the first in Central America with the highest incidence and mortality from this disease.

  • How should I prepare?
  • Will I feel any discomfort during the exam?
  • What Happens During Colonoscopy?
  • What happens after the exam?
  • Can I take my current medications?
  • What are the possible complications of a colonoscopy?
How should I prepare?

Four days before the procedure, the patient must eat a fiber-free diet (avoid beans, bran, corn, granola, etc.). The day before, the diet will be exclusively of clear liquids (chamomile, Gatorade, Powerade, clear soft drinks; clear, fresh strained broths, without seeds). You cannot eat any kind of solid food, cookies, or pureed vegetables. It is prohibited at all.
In the night before the exam and during the early morning, you must ingest a laxative, to cleanse the colon of the remains of stool that prevent an adequate evaluation of the organ.
To fully carry out the preparation before the study, we highly recommend to carefully read the text of the following link: Detailed preparation for Colonoscopy

Will I feel any discomfort during the exam?

At the “Clínica Digestiva Navarro” all procedures are performed under adequate sedation, the patient is guaranteed not to feel any discomfort.

What Happens During Colonoscopy?

Under sedation, the doctor performs a detailed inspection of the entire colon. Polyps can be found, which are abnormal growths, usually benign (not cancerous) that appear on the lining of the colon. They can be millimeter or several centimeters. They can be removed during the exam. Since cancer begins in polyps, their removal is essential to prevent colon cancer. This operation is known as a Polypectomy.
If the Colonoscopy is performed due to the appearance of lower digestive bleeding, the doctor can control the bleeding by injecting medications; cauterizing the bleeding blood vessels or placing small clips.
All the extracted polyps are sent for study by pathology (biopsy).

What happens after the exam?

The patient will recover from the effects of sedation in a recliner. Your stomach may feel puffy from gas, but it is a temporary effect.
If the patient did not require cauterization of any polyp, it is allowed to eat after the procedure. If the person undergo a complex polypectomy, she or he should continue with a liquid diet.
The doctor will inform you of the results, will tell you if a biopsy was done and when it will be ready.

Can I take my current medications?

The day before the exam – during preparation – the medications are taken normally. The same applies to Diabetes, but it should be remembered that some of the clear liquids that will be ingested during the day must contain sugar to prevent hypoglycemia.
If the patient takes medicine for high blood pressure, heart or lung diseases, it is advisable to do so at least two hours before. Medications for the treatment of Diabetes Mellitus must be taken after the procedure.
If you take anticoagulants, you must inform them at the time you make the appointment.

What are the possible complications of a colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy and polypectomy are generally safe when performed by doctors who have been specially trained and experienced in these procedures.
One of the possible complications is perforation or tearing of the intestinal wall, which may require surgery.
Bleeding may occur at the biopsy or polypectomy site, but is usually minor. Bleeding can stop spontaneously or can be controlled through the colonoscope, and medical follow-up is rarely required. Some patients may react to sedatives, or experience complications from heart or lung disease.
Although complications after colonoscopy are not common, it is important to recognize the early signs of them. If you notice severe abdominal pain, fever and chills, or rectal bleeding, contact the “Clínica Digestiva Navarro”. Be aware that bleeding can occur several days after the polypectomy.

Sources: Dr. Pablo Navarro and “American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy”

Asistente de endoscopía y coordinadora en Clínica Digestiva Navarro

La Asociación Americana de Endoscopía Digestiva recomienda la realización de este estudio a todas las personas mayores de 50 años.

Si en la familia de primer grado de consanguineidad hay algún miembro que  tenga o haya tenido esta patología, los demás familiares deben monitorearse a una edad más temprana.

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