Colonoscopy without stress
How's it going ?
Once the patient is asleep by general anesthesia, the gastroenterologist slides an endoscope into the anus. This flexible cable of one meter fifty long has at its end a light source and a mini-camera connected to a video screen. The doctor gently moves the device up to the beginning of the colon while air is blown in order to "unfold" the wall of the intestine and be able to observe it more easily. Then he gradually withdraws the endoscope, scanning each square centimeter of the walls of the mucosa, looking for abnormalities of relief or color differences. If in doubt, the practitioner performs a biopsy by taking small pieces of mucosa. Polyps (benign tumors) are also removed and cauterized with an electrocautery. The whole lasts fifteen to thirty minutes.
It's used for ?
Colonoscopy is used to look inside the rectum, colon and part of the small intestine. It is the examination of choice to find the origin of an infection and / or an inflammation (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis) and to reveal the presence of polyps, diverticula (small hernias of the mucosa of the intestine) or a cancerous tumor. Doctors prescribe it as part of the organized screening for colorectal cancer when blood is found in the stool. It is also used in case of digestive symptoms (transit disorders, abdominal pain ...) and in patients with a family history (polyps, colon cancer).
Not even scared, not bad
General anesthesia prevents any pain. As for the risks (hemorrhage, perforation of the walls of the colon), they remain rare because the colonoscopy is part of the well-controlled gestures. Upon waking, you can feel a feeling of bloating and the desire to eliminate gas: nothing more normal because the intestine is a sensitive organ. But everything gets back to normal quickly.
During the three days preceding the examination, it is necessary to respect a diet without residues, that is to say without vegetables, without fruits, or legumes, because their fibers could adhere to the wall of the colon and to mask the presence of polyps during the exam. During this period, one must be content with starchy foods (pasta, rice, semolina, etc.), lean meats and hard cheeses only. In addition, you should drink a laxative preparation (sachets of powder to dilute in water) to clean the intestines, the day before the intervention, after dinner; then in the morning, four hours before the scheduled time of passage.
And after ?
Anesthesia requires supervision in the recovery room. Then you return to your room where you are given a snack. Then we let you go home, accompanied by a loved one. You can resume your usual activities the next day.
Thank you to Dr. Anne-Laure Tarrerias, gastroenterologist and proctologist in Paris, vice-president of the French Society of Digestive Endoscopy.
⋙ Colorectal cancer screening: who is involved and how to perform the home test?
⋙ Should we be afraid of general anesthesia?
⋙ Bloating, gas: 15 foods to avoid to deflate