Colonoscopy Preparation for Bariatric Surgery Patients

17 April 2019

For patients who have had weight loss surgery, such as gastric sleeve or gastric band procedures, there can be concerns about how they might undergo a colonoscopy in the future if required for healthcare checks or diagnostic reasons.

A colonoscopy can detect bowel disorders such as colitis, diverticulitis, Crohn’s Disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Colonoscopy specialists in the Perth area are well versed in helping such patients, and there are methods available than can ensure this diagnostic procedure can go ahead without posing any risk to the patient.

Naturally, after bariatric surgery, the patient’s stomach cannot accommodate large volumes of food or fluids, and so an alternative method of bowel preparation must be employed.

From the outset, it is important to inform your colonoscopy specialist that you have undergone such surgery and ensure they are experienced in helping post- weight loss surgery patients.

Bowel prep is required prior to a colonoscopy in order to clear the bowel of all solid matter.

The aim is to clear out the bowel and it is recommended that only clear liquids are consumed for the duration of the preparation period.

Patients will be advised to consume a mixture of clear liquids and laxatives the day before their colonoscopy.

This helps bowel preparation as in the case of a post-weight loss surgery patient, traditional flushing methods – in which large volumes of fluid are used to clean out the bowel ahead of the diagnostic procedure – cannot be used.

High-sugar foods and drinks should be avoided during this period to prevent dumping syndrome, which occurs when sugar travels from the stomach to the bowel too quickly.

This can cause severe cramping, diarrhea, lightheadedness and nausea.

It is recommended that the patient stays at home during the preparatory period as frequent bathroom trips will be required to complete the process.

It is recommended that patients avoid any foods that can stick to the bowel wall such as nuts or seeds in the days before the colonoscopy.

Following your healthcare provider’s advice in relation to diet and bowel prep will ensure more accurate diagnostic results and lower the risk of complications.

Bariatric surgery patients can still receive diagnostic procedures such as colonoscopy when required and need not worry that their reduced stomach size will prevent them from such.

The most important part of a bariatric surgery patient’s colonoscopy is preparation and communication between patient and doctor.

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