Colonoscopy / coloscopy – Process, benefits and alternatives

Colonoscopy / coloscopy – Process, benefits and alternatives

Colonoscopy - what is involved?

A coloscopy or colonoscopy is an examination of the large intestine (colon) with a special instrument, a so-called endoscope. It allows the detailed inspection of the mucous membrane of the colon and the examination of abnormal changes.

Colonoscopy – when?

The most common form of malignant intestinal tumour, the colorectal carcinoma, is one of the most prevalent malignant diseases. It develops from the intestinal mucosa from precursors (polyps, adenomas). These develop very slowly, usually over a period of 10 years. A colonoscopy provides the opportunity to detect and remove possible precursors to a colorectal carcinoma at a very early stage, and even to prevent the development of a malignant tumour through early detection. Therefore, the coloscopy is the most important examination both for the detection and diagnosis and also for bowel cancer prevention. In particular, an annual colonoscopy in the second half of life is the best form of prevention in this area. If symptoms occur, such as blood in stool, alternating diarrhoea and constipation, increased constipation, chronic diarrhoea, chronic stomach ache, unintentional weight loss or unclear anaemia (deficiency of blood), a colonoscopy is essential. Depending on the complaints and the suspected diagnosis, other possible examinations can be carried out in advance, such as laboratory tests, ultrasound of the abdominal region or rectal examination.

Colonoscopy – how?

The tool used in a colonoscopy is the endoscope (coloscope), a flexible tube which adapts to the bends in the colon. There is a video chip at the tip, which transmits the recorded images to a monitor (video endoscopy). There are additional channels in the tube, such as cleaning and suction devices and channels for inserting surgical instruments. Smaller interventions can also be carried out as part of the endoscopy/rectoscopy, such as haemostasis, tissue sampling (biopsy) or polyp removal. In order to show the entire colon, the coloscope has a length of approximately 1.3 metres.
The examination is not very unpleasant and risk-free to a large extent. For those with sensitive natures, the colonoscopy can be carried out after administering sedatives or light anaesthesia.

Colonoscopy – are there alternatives?

The virtual or CT coloscopy is a possible alternative to the endoscopic examination. Two and three-dimensional images of the colon are generated by means of high-resolution multislice CT devices and special computer programmes and examined for changes, such polyps or tumours.  The colonoscopy and CT coloscopy are able to detect polyps with the same degree of precision. However, the conventional coloscopy offers the major advantage that such polyps can be removed in the same examination step. Patients whose polyps are detected during a CT coloscopy often require an additional colonoscopy for polyp removal. The radiation exposure from a CT examination can be seen as a disadvantage, even though it is low. The CT coloscopy is mainly used in case of severe constrictions of the colon, which cannot be passed by an endoscope. It can also be considered as an alternative in case of other contraindications for a colonoscopy.

Colonoscopy – why at the Wiener Privatklinik?

The Wiener Privatklinik not only offers you some of Vienna’s best medical specialists, but also specialists and the necessary technical diagnostic equipment for all examinations, which may be required if a disease is suspected as a result of the colonoscopy. It also offers the best specialists for the immediate treatment of such diseases. Early detection and timely treatment at the highest level are the best guarantee for a long, pain-free life.

You can obtain more detailed information on the colonoscopy/coloscopy from our telephone info-line or by email. All contact details can be found on our Contact page.