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Undergoing Tests

/media/bowel-disease/library/xray-colon-point.jpgUnfortunately problems with our large bowel can be embarrassing and some of the tests quite invasive, however, the professional staff employed at the facilities we use endeavour at all times to ensure that you are treated as an individual and work hard to continuously maintain your dignity.

There are often a number of diagnostic tests that can be used to diagnose your problem and it is important that you discuss with your specialist which would be the appropriate one for you.

Colonoscopy. This is a camera test which inspects the whole of the large bowel from the anus to caecum. Currently, it is the most sensitive technique for diagnosing mucosal disease such as cancer and colonic polyps. However, it is an invasive, occasional uncomfortable, test.

Currently, in the NHS, there is a vogue for this test to be performed with minimal sedation/analgesia. In our experience this is sub-optimal for a number of patients, resulting in considerable distress and perhaps an incomplete investigation. At North Birmingham Colon Care we discuss with you what sort of sedation/analgesia you would like prior to the procedure.

We find that most patients request “heavy” sedation and so experience no pain and have little memory of the procedure. We arrange for this to be administered by a consultant anaesthetist.  This allows the endoscopist to concentrate completely on the procedure, helping to facilitate a complete colonic examination, minimising the need for further investigations.

North Birmingham Colon Care regularly audit their colonoscopy completion and complication rates. (Available on request)

CT colonography. This is a non invasive method of imaging the large bowel and is gaining in popularity. It has the advantage of being able to image organs other than the bowel and there is no risk of bowel damage. However it is not as sensitive at identifying small polyps as colonoscopy and does not allow any therapeutic procedure to be performed such as a biopsy.  Perhaps its major advantage is where colonoscopy is not possible or in the frailer patient.

Barium enema.  This is a radiological procedure where by dye is injected into the anus and the patient is moved into different positions and x-rays taken. Again it is not therapeutic and perhaps its major role is in looking for structural defects of the colon rather than for mucosal lesions.

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