What are potential complications with a colonoscopy?


Quick Answer

Potential complications of a colonoscopy include a torn colon or rectum wall or bleeding from the area where the doctor obtained a tissue sample or removed an abnormal tissue, according to Mayo Clinic. A patient might also experience an adverse reaction to the sedative administered during the procedure.

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Full Answer

A colonoscopy involves few risks and rarely leads to complications, notes Mayo Clinic. Doctors perform the test to identify abnormalities in the rectum and large intestine. They insert a colonoscope, which is a flexible tube with a small video camera at the edge, into the rectum to examine the entire colon. Doctors sometimes take a tissue sample for further examination or remove abnormal tissue, such as polyps.

Physicians perform a colonoscopy to detect problems such as colon cancer, explains Healthline. The procedure allows them to search for signs of a cancer; identify the cause of unexplained bowel habit changes, diarrhea or chronic constipation; or assess pain or bleeding symptoms in the abdominal region.

To prepare for the exam, a person should follow the doctor's instructions, especially in maintaining a clear liquid diet for 24 to 72 hours before the colonoscopy, states Healthline. It is essential to avoid drinking fluids with red or purple dye content, as they can discolor the colon. Individuals must ask another person to drive them home after the procedure.

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