Skip to content

    Colorectal Cancer Health Center

    Font Size

    Colonoscopy Complications Uncommon

    Study: 1 in 200 Colonoscopies End in Hospitalization
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    Dec. 18, 2006 -- Complications that put patients in the hospital occur after 1 in 200 colonoscopies with biopsy or polyp removal, a CDC-funded study shows.

    When there's no biopsy or polyp removal, these serious complications occurred in only 1 in 1,000 colonoscopies. With biopsy or polyp removal, 7 in 1,000 patients were hospitalized for colonoscopy complications.

    The study, from Kaiser Permanente researcher Theodore R. Levin, MD, and colleagues looked at records for more than 16,000 patients who underwent colonoscopies. There were 82 serious complications.

    However, very few of these patients were getting colonoscopies as their initial colon cancer screening test. Levin and colleagues warn that the colonoscopy complication rate they found may not apply to patients who get screening colonoscopies.

    Even so, the researchers warn that colonoscopy seems to carry a higher complication rate than other colon-cancer screening tests.

    They also warn that delayed bleeding after colonoscopy is not uncommon -- even when only small, benign polyps are removed.

    The findings appear in the Dec. 19 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

    Today on WebMD

    Colorectal cancer cells
    The right diagnosis is the most important factor.
    man with a doctor
    Our health check will steer you in the right direction.
    sauteed cherry tomatoes
    Fight cancer one plate at a time.
    bladder cancer x-ray
    Do you know the warning signs?
    Colon vs Rectal Cancer
    New Colorectal Treatments
    can lack of sleep affect your immune system
    Cancer Facts Quiz
    Virtual Colonoscopy
    Picture of the Colon
    Vitamin D