Dr Jason Lim is a qualified specialist in General Surgery and Colorectal Surgery and his subspecialty clinical interests includes the treatment of complex anal conditions e.g. perianal fistula, functional bowel problems including irritable bowel syndrome, intractable constipation and bowel incontinence. He also published the first research paper on the prevalence of faecal incontinence in Singapore. Dr Jason Lim’s continual interest in improving patient outcomes and experience led him to hold various concurrent management positions in Singapore General Hospital.
Every day, 5 people in Singapore are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 2 die of it. Colorectal cancer is one of the most frequently diagonsed cancers among male and females. It is known as silent killer because it often has little or no symptoms.
However, it is largely preventable with regular screening, and is curable with early detection.
Read Dr Jason Lim's complete guide to coloscopy here where he explains what you need to know about getting a colonoscopy in Singapore, and addresses some of the common concerns that his patients have about colonoscopies.
Dr Jason answered questions from readers on:
- The purpose of colonoscopy
- Choosing a colonoscopy procedure
- Preparing for a colonoscopy
A colonoscopy is one of the investigative tools we have to examine the colon, rectum and in some cases the terminal ileum. The alternatives are a computed tomography scan of the colon (also known as a CT Colonography) and a barium enema.
If you are above the age of 45, or have a positive family history, it is important to consider a colonoscopy as part of your routine health screening.
This is because colorectal cancer is the number 1 cancer in Singapore and more often than not begins as a polyp. Polyps are small and have no symptoms. The only way to remove polyps is through a colonoscopy.
My advice is to gather direct feedback from trusted friends and relatives who have undergone a successful colonoscopy on whom to consider as your endoscopist. In this era of fake news and social media marketing, it is even more important now to distil reviews accurately.
The Medisave claim for a colonoscopy is between $950 and $1,250 depending on whether you have other procedures performed in the same sitting.
A colonoscopy carries a 1 in 1000 risk of perforation. Should a perforation occur, it often requires immediate surgery to repair the perforation. In some instances, a stoma is required to allow the damaged colon to heal.
Which will give the best results between a standard colonoscopy, a virtual colonoscopy and a capsule endoscopy?
To find out more about getting a colonscopy in Singapore, you can read my Complete Guide To Colonoscopies In Singapore (2018).
A standard colonoscopy’s sensitivity is in the range of 95 – 98% accurate, while a CT Colonography’s sensitivity can range from 90 – 95%. However, it is imperative to note that the sensitivity and accuracy of either investigation is highly dependent on the quality of the bowel preparation before the procedure. The poorer the bowel preparation, the lower the accuracy.
If you have booked an advanced date for your colonoscopy, it would be ideal to keep to a low fibre diet 3 to 5 days prior to the date of your colonoscopy. This reduces the fibrous debris in the colon and allows a better clean during the bowel preparation.
It depends greatly on what bowel preparation regime is used for the colonoscopy. Different centres and endoscopists have their own regimes.
The patient is often asleep throughout the procedure due to the sedation administered so essentially the patient often has no recollection of the entire procedure.
There is actually no recovery period from the scope itself. However, if you had sedation administered during the procedure, you might suffer a loss of memory or experience drowsiness.
A colonoscope is washed with a special cleaning fluid either manually or by a machine.
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