Bowel Perforation During Colonoscopy

In rare situations, patients may experience bowel perforation during colonoscopy. If you have existing colon or rectal disease, or if other medical procedures (such as a biopsy) are performed during the colonoscopy, the risk of perforation complications is increased dramatically. The size, location, and seriousness of the hole can vary, and each colonoscopy perforation has different treatment options.

Bowel Perforation During Colonoscopy

Bowel perforation injuries during a colonoscopy result in a hole in the bowel. On average, this colonoscopy complication occurs in 1 in 1,700 procedures. If procedures are performed during the colonoscopy to treat any problems, or if you already have significant colon or rectal disease, this risk is increased. For example, if a polyp is removed, the rate of perforation complications is about 1 in 700-800 procedures.
 
The size, location, and seriousness of the hole can vary, and each colonoscopy perforation has different treatment options. Small perforations often seal themselves off, so they may only require a few days in the hospital with close observation. More serious bowel perforations may require a surgery and possible repair or removal of the damaged area. Rarely, a colostomy bag may need to be placed temporarily or permanently after the damaged bowel is removed. Loss of life is also a possible complication of serious bowel perforations, but this is very rare.
 
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