Colonoscopy is a procedure that examines the lining of the colon and rectum, and therefore is able to diagnose diseases of the colon and rectum. The colon, or large intestine, is the last portion of your digestive tract. It starts at the caecum and ends at the rectum. The colon is about 1.5 metres long. Checking the colon and rectum has become very important as colorectal cancer is the number 1 cancer in Singapore as well as in many developed countries. The colonoscopy is the most effective test for colon cancer.
Colonoscopy can detect cancerous growths, as well as detect and remove pre-cancerous polyps. By removing such pre-cancerous polyps, we can potentially prevent cancer.
This procedure uses a highly advanced flexible tube called the colonoscope. The colonoscope has a light source and a tiny high-definition video camera attached at its end.
The doctor will insert this flexible tube, which is about the diameter of the index finger, through the anus into the large intestine. You will be given some drugs to make you sleep and hence you will be quite comfortable during the procedure. You may not even be aware of the procedure.
As the doctor inserts in the colonoscope, he will be watching a monitor. The images from the camera are transmitted and magnified onto a high-definition monitor. This allows the doctor to see exactly the inside of your colon and rectum, including very small abnormalities due to the magnification.
Besides diagnosing diseases, the colonoscope can be used to treat certain problems. It can be used to stop bleeding from ulcers or tumours. It can be combined with rubber band ligation of piles. It can even be used to perform minor surgery such as cutting out small tumours like polyps or even early cancer.
Some of the common symptoms or problems that will cause the doctor to recommend a colonoscopy includes:
Lower abdominal pain
Irregular bowel habit
Change of bowel habit
Change of stool consistency
Bleeding in the stools
Stools becoming pencil-thin in diameter
Feeling of incomplete evacuation after passing motion
Mucus-like discharge from the anus
Persistent ulcers or infection around the anus
Unexplained weight loss
Unexplained appetite loss
Anaemia (the patient’s haemoglobin level is low)
Screening for colon cancer in high-risk individuals
Faecal occult blood test positive for blood
The colonoscopy is a very safe procedure. Nonetheless, although very rare, complications can occur. The overall complication rate is about 2-3 in 1000 patients. These complications include bleeding, perforation or injury of the colon walls.
The estimated cost for a colonoscopy is divided into 2 components: the doctor’s fees and the hospital fees. The hospital fees refer to charges levied by the hospital for the use of the instruments as well as the ward / bed and nursing care.
The doctor’s fees for a diagnostic colonoscopy performed during office hours by Nexus Surgical Associates doctors will be approximately S$1000 to S$1500 (excluding taxes).
For Singaporeans and Permanent Residents, Medisave may be used to pay part of or all of the bill (conditions apply). As for patients wishing to claim from their health insurance policies, it is best to enquire with your insurance agents first.
We can give you the peace of mind.