What is a Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a medical procedure in Singapore where a colorectal specialist examines the colon (large intestine) and rectum using a long, flexible colonoscope tube. It is a safe and minimally invasive procedure with a low risk of adverse side effects. It is a common preventative test to screen for colorectal cancer after the age of 45. However, a doctor may recommend a colonoscopy at any age, especially if you are having symptoms or risk factors such as pain, bleeding, change in bowel habits, anaemia, or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Cyst removal depends on the exact nature of the cysts and if it’s causing complications.

During a colonoscopy, the doctor can visualise the colon and rectum on the monitor connected to the colonoscope. It is used to diagnose and treat conditions such as:

  • Colorectal cancer: early detection is key for colorectal cancer, which can be diagnosed and treated before it has spread through a colonoscopy. 
  • Polyps: a colonoscopy allows for identifying and removing polyps in the colon. Polyps are abnormal growths of tissue that can develop into cancer over time. 
  • Investigate gastrointestinal symptoms: a colonoscopy may also be done to investigate various gastrointestinal issues and unexplained issues such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea, constipation, sudden weight loss, anaemia, and rectal bleeding.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): colonoscopy can diagnose and monitor the progress of chronic inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
  • Diverticulosis: colonoscopy can help diagnose diverticulosis, a condition caused by small pouches (diverticula) in the colon.
If you have changes in your bowel habits or symptoms such as bleeding and pain, you may be advised to undergo a colonoscopy.

How does a Colonoscopy work?

Before a colonoscopy procedure in Singapore, the patient is prepared for the procedure by fasting and clearing the colon of stool to allow for a clear visualisation of the area. They may be required to drink a solution that thoroughly cleanses the colon. Then, they will be taken to the room where the colonoscopy is performed and put under sedation or general anaesthesia so that they don’t feel any pain or discomfort during the procedure.  

During the procedure, as the patient lies on their side, the colonoscope is inserted through the rectum and gently guided through the entire colon to view the lining and check for any issues. Polyps may be removed for biopsies to check for further testing. 

Then, the colonoscope is removed, and the patient is monitored until they wake up from the sedation. Depending on the severity of the condition and symptoms, the colonoscopy may be performed as an outpatient (no hospitalisation required) or inpatient procedure (hospitalisation required).

Benefits of a Colonoscopy in Singapore

  • Allows for early detection and treatment of colorectal cancer
  • Diagnoses and treats gastrointestinal issues
  • Removes polyps or other growths
  • Improves quality of life 
  • Minimally invasive

What conditions can a Colonoscopy treat in Singapore?

A colonoscopy can diagnose and identify several conditions and treat them. These conditions often affect the colon, rectum, and gastrointestinal areas. These include: 

  • Colorectal cancer and other cancers
  • Polyps, tumours, and growths
  • Bleeding
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Gastrointestinal conditions
  • Diverticulosis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Anaemia
A colonoscopy is a safe and minimally invasive procedure to diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions that affect the stomach and colon.

What results can I expect from a Colonoscopy procedure in Singapore?

The results to expect from a colonoscopy depend on the individual, as it is done to diagnose and treat various conditions. If you have polyps or growths, your doctor may remove them during the procedure. Otherwise, they may prescribe medication to treat symptoms such as diarrhoea, anaemia, or bleeding. You can expect to feel groggy after the surgery and some minor discomfort, such as cramps or bloating, for a few days. If you have more serious symptoms, such as a fever or rectal bleeding, contact your doctor immediately. 

How many Colonoscopy sessions are needed?

It depends on the severity of the condition and the symptoms the patient is experiencing. In general, one colonoscopy at a time is required. An upper gastroscopy may also be conducted, depending on the patient's symptoms. If required, a follow-up procedure for further treatment, monitoring, or removal of growths may be recommended. 

Frequently asked questions

Patients are usually under sedation and will not experience pain during the procedure. Some may feel mild discomfort afterwards, including cramps, gas, and bloating.
A colonoscopy normally takes about 30 minutes to an hour, but the process may take longer due to preparation and recovery time.

While colonoscopy is considered safe, there are risks, including bleeding, infection, perforation, or adverse reactions to sedation. These are often rare. Call your doctor or seek emergency treatment if you experience these.

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