Access Now: AORN COVID-19 Clinical Support

Home E-Weekly September 19, 2017

Does Underwater Colonoscopy Amplify Polyp Detection?

Published: September 18, 2017

CLEAR PATHWAYS MDs who practice hydrocolonoscopy report better views and better detection of lesions.

Hydrocolonoscopy continues to yield positive reports from gastroenterologists. What sets it apart from more traditional methods is the use of water instead of air to expand the colon before an exam, and according to research from the University of California at Irvine, the practice is more efficient for docs and more comfortable for patients.

Presenting his findings to Digestive Disease Week 2017, UCI's Anish Patel, MD, reported that 'underwater' colonoscopy achieves higher rates of polyp detection (PDR) and adenoma detection (ADR). Noting this result, Dr. Patel attributed the increase to the floating effect of the water. When the colon is suffused with water, polyps lining the wall become more buoyant, magnified, and visible to the eyes of examiners, and the jet stream clears away any lingering debris and mucus. Traditional air insufflation, however, can leave lesions flattened and hard to see. As for navigating with colonoscopes, water weighs the entire colon down, rounding out the organ's sharp turns for easy navigation. Air insufflation tends to blow these corners up.

Dr. Patel's results predict more satisfaction with the water method among MDs. Patients, however, are also happier by his accounts, finding less discomfort than they do with air insufflation, less cramping and gas, and less call for pain relief and sedation. Though U.S. MDs tend to favor sedation in colonoscopy, some have pointed out that the water-based method grants options to patients who can't or won't be sedated. Plus, for European MDs who prefer an unsedated colonoscopy, using water means a more comfortable, successful exam.

Though hydrocolonoscopy has been practiced for 30+ years, only recently has it grown among American gastroenterologists. Its future expansion seems to hinge on more positive findings and studies like Dr. Patel's at UC Irvine. For now, though, it brings further possibility to colonoscopy and how to treat patients.

Joe Madsen

New to Outpatient Surgery Magazine?
Sign-up to continue reading this article.
Register Now
Have an account? Please log in:
Email Address:
  Remember my login on this computer

advertiser banner

Other Articles That May Interest You

COVID's Impact on Colonoscopies

A specialty that had been preparing for a boom is now simply looking to get back to pre-pandemic volumes.

Boost Your Adenoma Detection Rate

ADR is the gold standard in colonoscopy quality. Do you measure up?