A colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure that involves inserting a colonoscope—a long, thin, and flexible tube with a miniature camera on its tip—into your rectum to obtain a live image of the lining of your colon. The main purpose of the procedure is to detect polyps and other abnormalities in the large intestine (colon) and rectum, so they can be addressed before they become malignant.
Your doctor may order a colonoscopy if you’re showing strong risk factors for colon cancer or if you’re experiencing abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, and other symptoms of a chronic digestive condition.
If your doctor has told you that you need a colonoscopy, here’s what you need to know about its accuracy rate and possible risks.
Despite the development of other screening methods, colonoscopy remains the gold standard for colon cancer detection. Research indicates that colonoscopies—regardless of whether they are performed in the hospital or at an outpatient facility—yield up to 94 percent accuracy rate.
Nonetheless, the accuracy of this test depends on a few important factors, such as:
- Colonic preparation- how completely the bowel is cleansed prior to the procedure (In other words, patient compliance plays a significant role.)
- The adenoma detection rate (ADR) of the individual physician- Physicians performing colonoscopies should make their ADR statistics readily available to their patients. These numbers indicate how many precancerous polyps the particular doctor discovers during colon cancer screening.
The American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) has set a benchmark rate of at least 15 percent in women and 25 percent in men.
While very safe, colonoscopy—as with any other type of invasive procedure—has its own inherent risks, albeit very rare. These include:
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia (heart or breathing problems)
- Bleeding- blood in your stools or from your rectum following your surgery
- Intestinal perforation – a hole in the wall of your small or large intestine
Your gastroenterologist will discuss these risks with you and give you preoperative instructions to minimize your risk.
If you experience any of the following symptoms after your colonoscopy, contact your gastroenterologist right away:
- Frequent passing of bloody stools
- Profuse rectal bleeding (more than two tablespoons)
- Severe pain or cramping in your belly
- Trouble passing gas or pooping
Colonoscopy in Westlake and Brooklyn, Ohio
At North Shore Gastroenterology, we offer colonoscopy and other colon cancer screening methods as part of our commitment to provide the residents of Westlake, Brooklyn, and neighboring areas with comprehensive digestive care.
You can trust our providers to take all necessary precautions and get you adequately prepared for your procedure to minimize your risk of complications and ensure accurate results.
To learn more about our colon cancer screening services or to arrange a consultation with one of our board-certified gastroenterologists, call us today at (440) 808-1212 or fill out our online request form.