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Why an incomplete colonoscopy?
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Why an incomplete colonoscopy?

This past week I went through my first colonoscopy for screening.  I am a 49 year old woman with no symptoms or history of colon problems.  I have had my stool tested for blood before with none found.  After barely coming out of the procedure, i was told that it was incomplete for the last  segment---the doctor said that  it was kind of twisty or words to that effect and that the scope was not long enough. I kind of felt like a freak! She then wrote a prescription for a barium enema with the inscription : "dx change of bowel habits"  --I'm a little upset because #1 who wants  to go through a god awful barium enema and  I  still don't get why a complete colonoscopy could not be done and #2 I have had no change in bowel habits --- I am very regular and have never had  chronic pain or other such problems at all! so why did the doctor right that on the scrip?
This was kind of an ordeal and I followed my prep procedures closely and I do plan on calling the doctor who performed the procedure for a clearer picture of what happened, but  perhaps you can shed a little more light on this so that I can ask the right questions.   Since the procedure, I have had no bleeding or pain and I seem to be back to normal.
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Sometimes there are anatomical variations between patients that prevent a colonoscopy from passing through.  This can be due to various twists in the colon, or some spasm during the procedure (i.e. irritable bowel syndrome) that can preclude a more thorough evaluation.  

It should be stressed that there many not be anything "wrong", just that some patients are not able to complete an adequate colonoscopy for the reasons outlined above.  

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
http://www.straightfromthedoc.com
4 Comments
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Don't stress about the diagnosis on the prescription.  You need a diagnosis or your insurance won't pay.  Many insurances don't pay for screening colonoscopy either, without some sort of a diagnosis stating why it's warranted. Sad but true.
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I just had one and Dr. said I was not "completely cleaned out".  I thought I would have to redo which freaked me out!  However, it will be redone in a year. In total I have had 2 colon. and found polyps both times (thus the redo in a year along with not eing clean enough).  Yes, preparation is nasty but if they missed something it would be worse!  Hang in there!
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Avatar_n_tn
Were your polyps hyperplastic or adenomatous?

I just had my first colonoscopy and had both types of polyps.
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Hi - think you will need medical dictionary!  The latest was pre-cancerous thus the repeat in a year. When did Dr. want you to repeat?  When he found first one, he removed and had to go back in 3 years.  The one he removed now, I have to go back in a year.  Thus I suspect I had both types byut I don't know the name for each.  You willl be able to fine on-line.
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I had the procedure two weeks ago.  When I was still in a fog from the Demerol and Versed, I remeber the gastroenterologist telling me that the adenomatous polyps were at least pre-cancerous, and that they wouldn't know if there was cancer until after the biopsies. He told me to call his office for the results of the biopsies in three days, but said if they were pre-cancerous, I'd have to follow up with annual colonoscopies. If they weren't pre-cancerous he said "we'll have to talk". When I called his office, his nurse told me they were benign and that I didn't need another colonoscopy for three years. That has left me a little confused, but they will have sent a report to my primary care physician, and I see him on August 10th, so I am hoping he can shed some light on these issues.

I hope everything works out well with you!

Best regards,
Chicken Soup
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