It includes OGD (Oesophagogastroduodenoscopy) and Colonoscopy. It is a direct, real-time visualisation of the inner lining of the gastrointestinal tract via a fibreoptic scope roughly the thickness of a finger. An OGD visualizes the oesophagus, stomach and up to the second part of the duodenum, including the ampulla of Vater. A colonoscopy typically visualizes the anus, rectum, sigmoid colon, and the rest of the colon up to the caecum and ileocaecal valve.
It is usually a day procedure done at the Endoscopy Centre. The patient needs to register about 30 minutes before the procedure start time. Post-procedure, the patient will be reviewed in the clinic.
For OGD, fasting for 6 hours is required. For colonoscopy, bowel preparation is required. The fastest possible is in 4 hours’ time. However, it is more comfortable if the bowel preparation is done the day before.
Endoscopy is usually done under intravenous sedation and monitoring by an anaesthetist. You should not feel any pain. You may have a feeling of gas after the procedure which normally lasts a day.
People with symptoms related to the digestive system, such as indigestion, regurgitation, bloating, belching, gastric pain, changes in bowel habits, passing of blood in the motion, or having dark and sticky motion (melaena).
(1) People who have symptoms that may be linked to colorectal cancer e.g. bleeding per rectum (i.e. when passing motion), recent increasing constipation with or without alternating diarrhea, change in bowel habits, change in the caliber of the stools, abdominal bloating or distension
(2) People who have a family history of colorectal cancer
(3) People who are 50 years or older (screening)
Endoscopy is generally safe. There is a 0.5% risk of perforation of the colon, but this is unlikely in experienced hands. Where there are obvious non-navigable kinks or obstructions, endoscopy is usually halted for patient safety reasons, and we may need to proceed with CT scans or other further investigations.