Medical Practice

Hospital Topics: Examination of the Whole Colon with the Fibreoptic Colonoscope

Br Med J 1972; 3 doi: (Published 29 July 1972) Cite this as: Br Med J 1972;3:278
  1. Christopher Williams,
  2. Tetsuichiro Muto


    During examination of the intact colon with the Olympus CF LB 185-cm colonoscope it has proved possible to reach the caecum or terminal ileum in 47 out of 50 cases (94%). Careful bowel preparation, moderately heavy sedation, and some x-ray screening are necessary for the procedure, but it was well tolerated by all patients and there was no morbidity. The average time taken to the caecum was 40 minutes and the average time to completion of examination 90 minutes. The long colonoscope was as convenient to use as the fibresigmoidoscope in examinations confined to the sigmoid colon or in patients with a colostomy, ileostomy, or ileorectal anastomosis. Of the two, the long colonoscope is the instrument of choice for clinical use.

    Because of the expense, time, and equipment involved colonoscopy appears to be best offered as a specialist service after x-ray studies. There is alo a limited place for colonoscopy during abdominal surgery, when it is technically an easier procedure. In this series 10 patients were saved exploratory laparotomy by examination with the colonocope, and we also diagnosed four resectable carcinomas not seen on double-contrast barium-enema studies. The colonoscope provides an effective new means of diagnosis of lesions throughout the colon.

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