Thursday, June 3, 2010

WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS OF COLONOSCOPY?


The only possible complication from colonoscopy is a perforation or tear through the bowel which could require surgery. Bleeding may occur from the site of a biopsy or polypectomy. This is usually minor and should stop on its own, or it can be controlled through the colonoscope. Rarely, blood transfusions or surgery may be required.

Potential risks include a reaction to the sedatives/anaesthetic used, and complications from heart or lung disease. Localised irritation of the vein where the medication was injected may cause a tender lump lasting for several weeks but this will go away eventually. Applying heat packs or hot, moist towels may help relieve discomfort. Although complications after colonoscopy are uncommon, it is important for you to recognise early signs of any possible complications: severe abdominal pain, fevers and chills, or rectal bleeding (more than half a cup). Bleeding can occur for several days after polypectomy.

If you have any problems after discharge, contact your doctor or nearest emergency department for assistance.

If any of your questions have not been answered here, please feel free to discuss them with the endoscopy nurse or your doctor before the procedure begins.

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