Colonoscopy

Overview

Colonoscopy is a procedure that examines the lining of the colon and rectum, therefore is able to diagnose diseases of the colon and rectum.

The colon, or large intestine, is the last portion of the 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.

When is a Colonoscopy recommended?

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
  • Chronic constipation
  • Recurrent diarrhoea
  • 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 appetite loss
  • Anaemia
  • Screening for colon cancer in high-risk individuals
  • Faecal occult blood test positive for blood

What is a Colonoscopy like?

Before

  • The doctor will first take an informed consent during which he/she will describe the procedure, the benefits as well as the risks involved, as well as alternative methods to check the colon.
  • Prior to the colonoscopy, you will be prescribed some medications to thoroughly clean out the colon. By cleansing the colon, the doctor will have a good view of your colon. It is essential that you complete this preparation fully as this will determine how well your doctor can examine your colon.
  • You will be asked not to eat or drink anything from two to six hours before the colonoscopy

During

  • The colonoscopy is typically performed at the Endoscopy Centre.
  • At the Endoscopy Centre, the nurse will insert an intravenous cannula into a vein at your hand so as to allow us to administer the drugs to sedate you.
  • Your parameters (blood pressure, heart rate and blood oxygen level) will be monitored before, during and after the procedure.
  • You will be asked to lie on your left side.
  • Once you are fully sedated, your doctor will gently pass the scope into your colon.
  • As the scope is advanced, air will be introduced so as to allow the doctor to see better. You may therefore experience bloating. You may also feel as if you need to pass motion as the scope advances in your colon. Our nurses may sometimes apply pressure on your abdomen to help the doctor in advancing the colonoscope. Otherwise you should feel little or no discomfort.
  • The colonoscopy has channels that allow the doctor to obtain biopsies (small pieces of tissue) or perform other treatments such as removal of polyps, depending on what is found during the examination.
  • The time needed for a colonoscopy will vary, depending in part on what is found and what is done. On average, the procedure takes about 30 minutes.

After

  • Colonoscopy is usually performed as a day surgery procedure.
  • The most common discomfort after a colonoscopy is a sensation of bloating, which should disappear by24 hours.
  • You will need to stay at the recovery area for monitoring for at least 1 hour. Some light refreshments will be served once you are fully awake.
  • When you are fully awake, your doctor will discuss with you the findings of the colonoscopy. This may be done at the Endoscopy Centre or at our Nexus Surgical clinic. Otherwise, an early date will be given to you to return for a consultation with your doctor.
  • It is essential for you to arrange for a friend or family member to accompany you home. Although you will be awake by the time of discharge, the sedatives may have a lingering effect.

What Is a Colonoscopy Like?

Before

  • The doctor will first take an informed consent during which he/she will describe the procedure, the benefits as well as the risks involved, as well as alternative methods to check the colon.
  • Prior to the colonoscopy, you will be prescribed some medications to thoroughly clean out the colon. By cleansing the colon, the doctor will have a good view of your colon. It is essential that you complete this preparation fully as this will determine how well your doctor can examine your colon.
  • You will be asked not to eat or drink anything from two to six hours before the colonoscopy

During

  • The colonoscopy is typically performed at the Endoscopy Centre.
  • At the Endoscopy Centre, the nurse will insert an intravenous cannula into a vein at your hand so as to allow us to administer the drugs to sedate you.
  • Your parameters (blood pressure, heart rate and blood oxygen level) will be monitored before, during and after the procedure.
  • You will be asked to lie on your left side.
  • Once you are fully sedated, your doctor will gently pass the scope into your colon.
  • As the scope is advanced, air will be introduced so as to allow the doctor to see better. You may therefore experience bloating. You may also feel as if you need to pass motion as the scope advances in your colon.
    Our nurses may sometimes apply pressure on your abdomen to help the doctor in advancing the colonoscope. Otherwise you should feel little or no discomfort.
  • The colonoscopy has channels that allow the doctor to obtain biopsies (small pieces of tissue) or perform other treatments such as removal of polyps, depending on what is found during the examination.
  • The time needed for a colonoscopy will vary, depending in part on what is found and what is done. On average, the procedure takes about 30 minutes.

After

  • Colonoscopy is usually performed as a day surgery procedure.
  • The most common discomfort after a colonoscopy is a sensation of bloating, which should disappear by24 hours.
  • You will need to stay at the recovery area for monitoring for at least 1 hour. Some light refreshments will be served once you are fully awake.
  • When you are fully awake, your doctor will discuss with you the findings of the colonoscopy. This may be done at the Endoscopy Centre or at our Nexus Surgical clinic. Otherwise, an early date will be given to you to return for a consultation with your doctor.
  • It is essential for you to arrange for a friend or family member to accompany you home. Although you will be awake by the time of discharge, the sedatives may have a lingering effect.

Consult Our Doctors

Dr Chan Chungy Yip

Dr Chan Chung Yip

HepatoBiliary, Pancreas & General Surgeon

colorectal cancer specialists

Dr Jane Tan Jye Yng

Colorectal & General Surgeon

weight loss surgeon singapore

Dr Lim Khong Hee

General Surgeon

pancreatic cancer specialist in singapore

Dr Ho Choon Kiat

HepatoBiliary, Pancreas & General Surgeon

Colonoscopy FAQs

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 standard diagnostic colonoscopy is divided into 2 components

  1. Doctor’s Fees 
    The doctor’s fees for a diagnostic colonoscopy performed during office hours by Nexus Surgical doctors will be approximately S$1100 to S$1600 (excluding prevailing taxes). This range is based on the published Fee Benchmark set up the Ministry of Health of Singapore.

  2. 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.

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 have a detailed write-up on the cost of endoscopy in Singapore on our website.

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