Flex vs. Colonoscopy?

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 6447
   Posted 2/23/2009 8:36 AM (GMT -6)   
Well, I saw a new GP on Friday; my other was good, but I was getting the run around regarding my knee problem...but that's another story. Anyway, I liked him and he is running a panel of blood tests that I haven't had in a while and he took about an hour with me just getting to know my history and explained quite a few things to me. Now here's the interesting part....I told him that I was due for a colonoscopy; first off because I haven't had one in about 5 years, second because I'll be 50 soon, and the paperwork Kaiser gives me tells me I'm due for it. So I ask him if I should go through my GI to make the appt. and he said, no, he'd do it. Then he proceeded to tell me that the medical world is finding that doing a flex is much better than a whole colonoscopy because they find that healthy people tend to die more often from the scope puncturing the colon -- I'm talking one out of every 500 people. Really?? He started explaining the results of the puncture, and I said I was well aware since I belong to a forum; but I couldn't understand how so many people I know go through this procedure and not have any problems. He started to explain that if I didn't have any polyps from my last sig, that I shouldn't really need a colonoscopy. So.....should I call my GI doc and talk to him or should I just continue on with the flex? Trust me, I already feel like I have a black mark on my file with my knee problems!

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Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 2/23/2009 8:49 AM (GMT -6)   
No, definately call your GI for a colonoscopy. You have Uc therefore you are in that category that raises your risk of colon cancer. I don't think it sounds like your GP knows the true in and outs of UC.
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Mamas Boys
Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 1460
   Posted 2/23/2009 10:06 AM (GMT -6)   
I would defnitely trust the GI more when it comes to this. He probably does thousands of them while your GP does not.  And as Carol said - your UC definitely puts you in a different category.  Since your last full scope was five years ago you are due for another full scope now - not just a felx sig.  Prolonged UC can cause polyps.  My last scope showed polyps while the one prior did not.  So just because your last one was clean does not mean that this one will be as well.  (Not that I'm looking to make you nervous.)

Mamas Boys
Colazal, Azathioprine, Remicade
Culturelle, MultiVitamin, Folic Acid, Viactiv
Status: Remission!!

Elite Member

Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 30203
   Posted 2/23/2009 10:53 AM (GMT -6)   
OMG...I'm actually shocked about that....make sure you tell your GI what the GP suggested.

Never would I settle for a sig-scope in place of a c-scope. I'd expect at least 30+ biopsies throughout.

Yes, there's a possibility for perforation....all invasive procedures have some risk.

If all is clear for you, you shouldn't need one for at least another 3 - 5 years.

Personally, the GP's blowing smoke up your butt.....

*Heather* Status..Asacol  (3 x2 daily); flaring /Dec 22, tapered to every 3rd nite..back to nightly (Jan 22)..tapered too fast
~diagnosed January 1989 UC (proctosigmoiditis)
~Bentylol (dicyclomine) 20mg as needed; Ranitidine (reflux);  Effexor XR 75mg(depression);  Pulmicort/Airomir (asthma) 
~vitamins/minerals/supplementsProbiotics....(Natural Factors Protec, Primadophilus Reuteri Pearls, Natural Factors Ultimate). @ bedtime
~various digestive enzymes as needed; started Omega 3 
~URSO for PSC (or PBC) 500mg X 2 daily (LFTs back to NORMAL!!)
My doc's logic.. "TREAT (FROM)BOTH ENDS"  worth it !!!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 2832
   Posted 2/23/2009 12:43 PM (GMT -6)   
1 in 500 dying from colonoscopies? This sounds like a ludicrous statistic from that doc. I would like to know the true number but 1 in 500 sounds absurdly high for something that is done probably more than a thousand times a day in the U.S. alone- that would mean many deaths a day from colonoscopies. As for the perforation risk, as low as it is, itself applies mostly to a severely, actively diseased colon, which is one reason a full bore severe flare is probably not the best time to experience a scope. I am getting the cscope at least annually now and hate them (not so much the prep but the tendency of my UC to flare after the scope due to all the biopsies) .... so that alone makes me want to consider surgery more seriously, but for now I am holding on.
Pancolitis >20 years, allergic to all 5ASAs
Tried everything under the sun (natural and alternative)
Some partial success with TSO but was too expensive to keep up 
Currently Remicade and lots of probiotics, tapering pred again, maybe surgery this year

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7150
   Posted 2/23/2009 1:50 PM (GMT -6)   
I found these stats on about.com. They were compiled from data taken from 1966-2001. I assume that there is such a spread in the numbers because of the huge date range and that the numbers are lower now.

Perforation occurred in about 1/3,450 to 1/139 colonoscopies.
Heavy bleeding occurred in about 1/500 to 1/37 colonoscopies.
Death occurred in about 1/30,000 to 1/3,000 colonoscopies.
Symptoms began in November 2008, ~4 weeks after giving birth to my son.
Eased for ~3 weeks in December, possibly b/c of probiotic use?
Returned in January 2009 (with a vengeance), diagnosed with pancolitis on January 30.
Currently taking Asacol (400mg 4 pills 3x daily), Rowasa nightly, Culturelle probiotic, and Zoloft (25 mg).

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