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Colonoscopy: Risks Your Doctor Isn’t Telling You

Colonoscopy: Risks Your Doctor Isn’t Telling You

We have all been told: You need to have a colonoscopy at 50 and every 5 years thereafter. This, we are told, is to guard against developing cancerous polyps in our colon. We are also told that there is a very low risk associated with the procedure.

The procedure is usually preformed in a free standing center under a mild anesthesia, often Propofol. That is the drug that Michael Jackson died using.

The proper way to perform the procedure is to only use so much of the drug that the patient is in a kind of twilight sleep. Most people, me included, tell the doctor “knock me out,” I don’t want to remember anything. The doctors tend to oblige. The problem, however, is that the patient does not register pain. Thus when the doctor is applying too much force, the patient does not register the pain. Too much force in the area of the spleen can result in irreparable damage and the need to have the spleen removed.

The spleen is an important organ for fighting infection. Without it the patient will have a lifetime of taking precautions including yearly immunization against a variety of illnesses.

Although the literature claims it is a rare complication of the procedure, this writer believes that the number of injuries are being underreported by the health care facilities.

This office has reviewed two such injuries in the last month. Both resulted in removal of the spleen, both resulted from routine colonoscopies, both occurred in New London County, each occurred in a different free standing center in New London County.

For more information: Singla, S, Journal Gastrointest Surg, 2012 March 27.