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Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy allows the doctor to look into the interior lining of the large intestine. Through this procedure, the doctor is able to detect inflamed tissue, abnormal growths, polyps, tumors and ulcers. Early signs of cancer in the colon and the rectum can also be detected through colonoscopy. This procedure is also used to study unexplained changes in bowel habits, to evaluate symptoms of abdominal pain, rectal bleeding and sudden weight loss. The colonoscope is a thin flexible instrument whose length ranges from 48 inches to 72 inches. A small video camera is attached to the colonoscope so that photographic, electronic or videotaped images of the large intestine can be taken. Colonoscope is used to view the entire colon as well as a small portion of the lower small intestine.

The colon should be completely empty for colonoscopy to be thorough and safe. The liquid diet should be clear of any food colorings. It should be fat free. The colonoscope is gradually inserted into the rectum and slowly guided into the colon. The scope transmits an image of the inside of the colon onto a video screen so that the doctor can carefully examine the lining of the colon. The scope blows air into the colon and inflates it so that the doctor has a better view of the colon. During the procedure, the doctor is able to remove abnormal growths like polyp in the colon.

  • Colonoscopy aids the doctor to remove most polyps without abdominal surgery.
  • Colonoscopy is more accurate than a routine x ray to detect polyps, tumors, ulcers and cancers at early stage.
  • Colonoscopy is done most often to investigate and find the cause of blood in the stool, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
  • Certain patients with previous history of polyps or colon cancer, patients with family history of particular malignancies, colon problems are advised to have periodic Colonoscopy because they are at greater risk of polyps or colon cancer.

Virtual colonoscopy: Here the technique that is adopted uses a CAT scan to construct virtual images of the colon. These images are similar to the views of the colon obtained by direct observation through colonoscopy. However, virtual colonoscopy cannot find small polyps which are less than 5 mm in size. These can be seen by the traditional colonoscopy. Virtual colonoscopy is not as accurate as colonoscopy in finding cancers or pre-malignant lesions that are not protruding. Virtual colonoscopy also cannot remove polyps.

Intussusception

Intussusception is a condition where there is an obstruction in the intestinal walls. Inflammation in the intestines then leads to blockage and decreased blood flow. This usually occurs in children. Symptoms of intussuspection include abdominal swelling, vomiting bile, stools with blood and mucus. The patient's condition will worsen with weakening pulse, lower blood pressure, rapid and shallow breathing and cramping abdominal pain. Intussusception in adults, the symptoms are rectal bleeding, nausea, vomiting and distention in the abdomen. There might increased urgency for bowel movements. Adults may develop Intussusception due to tumor growths, scar tissue or chronic diarrhea.


A physician will be able to notice the tenderness and swelling in the intestine. An abdominal ultrasound will be done to investigate the extent of swelling and damage if any. Barium enema may be introduced and x-ray taken of the intestines. Intussusception is treated with air or barium enema. In case of any damage to the intestine, surgery is considered to remove or ease the intestinal blockage.


Ischemic bowel disease

Ischemic bowel disease is a medical condition that occurs due to lack of blood flow to the intestines. This disease is seen mostly in older people. If the condition is mild, the disease may improve without treatment. But Ischemic bowel disease can result in an emergency situation in some cases. Ischemic bowel disease results from blocked or narrowed arteries. Tumors or blood clots can be the cause for reduced blood supply. Atherosclerosis is another cause for narrowed arteries.


Patients suffering form Ischemic bowel disease notice abdominal pain, after eating. There might be rectal bleeding in some cases. Symptoms of ischemic bowel disease include abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting. The abdomen appears distended and there might be episodes of diarrhea. Certain conditions such as colon cancer, diabetes, congestive heart failure, peripheral vascular disease and sickle cell cancer can increase a person's risk of developing Ischemic bowel disease.


Diagnosis can be done based on abdomen x-rays and colonoscopy. Angiography of the arteries supplying blood to the bowel helps in detecting the severity of the condition. Antibiotics help in minimizing the infection. Surgery is resorted to in severe cases.

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: October 18, 2019