A colonoscopy is frequently cited to be the most effective means of colorectal cancer screening; however, the benefits may not always outweigh the risks. The colonoscopy industry generates a substantial amount of income for many doctors, but this procedure isn’t necessarily always called for.
Although doctors qualify this as a routine procedure, it has been associated with many complications. These complications can range from spasms and abdominal pain to more serious injuries such as perforations, tears and hemorrhaging. There are certain rarer conditions such as post-colonoscopy infective endocarditis, which is an inflammation of the inner tissues of the heart, that are related to high rates of mortality. Even further, according to the article “Magnitude and Severity of Colonoscopy Complications” by David A. Johnson, MD, FACG, FACP, the perforation rate was 1/1000 procedures, and serious complications occurred in 5/1000 people who had undergone colonoscopies.
Undoubtedly, the risks and benefits need to be carefully weighed by individuals who are considering having a colonoscopy performed. In some of these rarer cases during which the malpractice usually occurs, a tear or perforation can occur that is undetected during the procedure. This can then lead to sepsis- a life threatening complication of an infection, illness, hospitalization, and ultimately, death. There is a test called the “fecal occult blood test” in which a patient takes a kit home for testing and it is returned to the doctor.
Overall, one can never underestimate the importance of recognizing the consequences that could occur as a result of having a colonoscopy and the necessity of ensuring that it is to be performed by a properly trained, certified physician. If you have experienced any of these symptoms after having a colonoscopy, please immediately call my office for a free consultation.