Some Doctors See Better Results From “Underwater” Colonoscopies

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Water exchange colonoscopies, which use H2O instead of air to inflate the colon, slightly improved detection of proximal sessile serrated adenoma, so many doctors now offer both air and water colonoscopies.

Underwater colonoscopies also improved polyp detection rates by about 5 percent, mostly in the right colon. However, the water does not seem to help in other cases, which may be why underwater colonoscopies have been slow to catch on outside California. Advocates say that the flushing away of fecal matter, along with the flotation of SSAs, improves detection. A water colonoscopy in Staten Island, NY also results in less patient discomfort and therefore requires less sedation.

Doctors in Asia performed the first underwater colonoscopy in the 1980s.

What a Colonoscopy Does

A colonoscopy is both a diagnostic and treatment tool. Using a very, very small instrument equipped with a high-resolution video camera, the doctor explores the inside of a colon looking for any abnormalities, such as SSAs or polyps.

After the diagnostic phase, the doctor removes the camera and attaches a very small tool, which almost effortlessly removes polyps and other growths. Both phases are perfectly normal, since even the healthiest adults usually have several colon growths. A laboratory then biopsies the removed tissue, and it is nearly always benign.

Typically, all men over 50 should have this procedure once a year. Prior to the colonoscopy in Staten Island, NY, most patients must consume only clear liquids for twenty-four to seventy-two hours. A list of generally acceptable clear liquids, which is surprisingly long, is available here.

Air or Water Colonoscopy?

Some doctors believe that water colonoscopies are faster and easier to perform, largely because, they say, the water inflates the colon faster and the slightly increased resistance makes it easier to manipulate the scope. And, as mentioned earlier, water colonoscopies improve the detection of some abnormalities and lesions while reducing discomfort.

But other studies conclude that water colonoscopies simply are not that much better than air procedures. In fact, it is easier to spot some precancerous lesions in air infusion procedures.

When all other things are roughly equal, sometimes treatment decisions come down to cost versus benefit, and there are insurance companies that will simply not pay for water infusion procedures.

To have a talk with an experienced colonoscopy doctor in Staten Island about the approach that’s best for you.


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