During colonoscopy, the entire large intestine is examined. If necessary, the physician can also enter the last piece of the small intestine (terminal ileum) and examine it. Tissue samples are only taken during colonoscopy if there is an appropriate question (e.g. chronic diarrhea). The duration of the examination is usually about 20-30 minutes, but this can vary. For example, an examination takes longer if polyps are removed (polypectomy).
Colonoscopy is performed as a so-called "gentle" colonoscopy. This means that the patient is given medication to sleep (sedation) and therefore hardly notices the examination. More than 90 percent of patients take advantage of this option (only a few patients do not take it if they expressly wish to do so).
Risks of colonoscopy: Before each colonoscopy, a detailed explanation of the procedure and the risks must be provided in a timely manner.
Preparation for colonoscopy
At least three days before the examination, no whole grain products and no high-fiber vegetables or fruits containing seeds should be eaten in order to avoid blocking the endoscope (e.g. grapes or kiwi). A small breakfast is allowed the day before the examination, and a clear soup may still be taken at lunch.
» About preparation
In the afternoon of the day before the examination, the actual preparation is started. The exact preparation depends on the type of preparation used.
On the morning of the day of the examination, one more liter of colonic irrigation solution must be drunk. The stool should then be watery and only slightly colored. Adherence to these preparatory measures is necessary to allow accurate assessment of the mucosa. Also, the risk of complications or the quality of the examination is significantly lower with good preparation (better overview). If the patient is taking medication regularly, these can also be taken unchanged on the day of the examination. Taking antidiabetics or the contraceptive pill should be discussed with the physician beforehand.
If sedation with propofol is used, the patient must sleep for approximately one hour after the examination. Also, drinking or eating is not allowed/possible until the sedation has completely worn off (at least one hour). The patient is not allowed to drive a vehicle for 24 hours after receiving sedation. It is therefore recommended to be picked up or to use public transport.