Research Article

Colonoscopy in surgical practice.

Br Med J 1977; 1 doi: (Published 15 January 1977) Cite this as: Br Med J 1977;1:149
  1. D C Britton,
  2. D Tregoning,
  3. G Bone,
  4. S T McKelvey


    Colonoscopy is a rewarding new technique with a potential for early and more accurate diagnosis. One hundred and seventy colonoscopies carried out over the past three years showed or confirmed colonic cancer in 14 patients, and solitary or multiple colonic polyps were found in 28 cases, of which 18 were excised endoscopically. A large villous adenoma was diagnosed in one patient, and the absence of a suspected sinister lesion was shown by direct examination and biopsy in 110 cases. There were 17 examination failures, including two perforations of the bowel. Colonoscopy complements rather than supplants barium enema examination and will make diagnostic laparotomy for colonic lesions unnecessary. The use of the diathermy snare allows endoscopic removal of colonic polyps and should greatly reduce the need for formal surgery in these cases. The financial saving to the Health Service will greatly outweigh the expense of the procedure, but it should be undertaken only in well organised centres as a specialist service for selected patients. In skilled hands it is safe, but potential hazards exist for the inexperienced endoscopist.