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Colonoscopy in France


brodie19

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Hi all,

I lived in France up to end of 2012, but before that had a "preventative" colonoscopy as my father had been diagnosed with colon cancer.

After having the procedure, my surgeon recommended the same every 3 years.

After moving back to the UK, I was a bit dismayed to learn that the NHS do not offer general anaesthesia for colonoscopies as I had in France. On discussing this with a doctor friend, I am led to believe this is a cost issue!

Anyway, having recently contacted the French surgeon, he has said he would be delighted to see me again and perform my now 3 yearly colonoscopy under a general anaesthetic.

I fully understand the costs are met wholly by myself, but couple this with a holiday...its a no brainer !

Now, when I was first offered a colonoscopy in mid 2012, I first had a consultation with the gastroenterologist and the anaesthetist.

I also recall providing my annual blood tests and cardiology report to the anaesthetist.

The gastroenterologist has said he will see me without an "ordonnance", and recalling the last time, I simply organised an anaesthetist appointment directly.

I am not sure about obtaining the blood tests and seeing the cardiologist as to whether I require an "ordonnance" for each from a French GP.

I am wondering if it may be easier just arranging to see a French GP (my former one has retired since I have left France), and request an ordonnance for the usual blood tests, and a Cardiology appointment.

I think I may not need an ordonnance for the Cardiology appointment, but think I may need one for the blood tests.

Any advice appreciated.
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Hi brodie,

I cannot answer your France-related questions, but I had a colonoscopy in the UK a few years ago, and it was a doddle. They gave me some kind of sedative, but I was alert enough to enjoy watching the whole procedure on the TV screen the surgeon was using - the nurse suggested I kept my glasses with me for the purpose! I felt no discomfort (is that the expression?!) at all, only had the odd sensation of having air pumped into the area under review.

I believe that general anaesthetics are not without risk, especially as one gets older, so this may be another factor in the decision to do the procedure in this way.

Angela
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You can just get an appointment with a Cardiologist, and could ask your surgeon to refer you for both that and the blood test.

I have a similar situation, in so much as I have to have regular Coloscopies. My surgeon refuses to do them without a GA pointing out that in case of an accidental bowel perforation  it is  better to be already asleep.

I know that the French and UK systems have different views.

I the past I have had one many years back without anything at all, and on another occasion woke up in the middle and can say that apart from slight alarm I had no problems.

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It is not a cost issue as screening colonoscopies are usually

done under sedation if requested, not general anaesthetic because of the not

insignificant risks involved with a GA that increase with age, being overweight

and medical conditions such as high blood pressure. My other half had a colonoscopy

privately last year and asked for no sedation so could leave the hospital

immediately afterwards and had no problem, even enjoying watching the procedure

on an overhead monitor! Likewise, I have had numerous colonoscopies over the

years as a private patient outside the UK, so no health service cost issues,

and have been told that under general anaesthetic there is actually an

increased risk of perforating the bowel if you do not have the cooperation of

the patient.

 

A lot of people who have colonoscopies think they have had a

GA because they can remember nothing of the procedure, but this is usually

because of the sedation and amnesiac drugs which administered intravenously. If

nervous just ask for heavy sedation and I guarantee you will feel or remember

nothing!

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[quote user="halfblind"]I agree with the OP. I have had 2 colonoscopies in France the first without a general and it was awful, the second with a GA and it was fine. Agree about the gunk you have to drink beforehand !

[/quote]

So Much of the comfort/discomfort is down to the pilot, not the patient. I was offered the sedative which I really would rather have not had, they also offer gas and air but it wasn't discussed.  that woosy drunk feeling wore off and I was able to watch at least part of it.

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My advice

would be to try the colonoscopy once with sedation to see how you get on, as if

you are fine it is far better to avoid multiple general anaesthetics if you are

going to need repeat colonoscopies every three years, as you could end up with

side effects like permanent disabling cognitive impairment, which is a surprisingly

common side effect with patients over the age 0f 60 (Over 10%). That is why

with older patients procedures like hip replacements are increasingly being

given under an epidural rather than GA.

I would do a

bit of research on the internet so you can make an informed decision.

 

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My other half has had them in UK with sedatives, and thoroughly enjoyed watching them, he told me immediately afterwards. With those and endoscopies, he was hardly aware of anything at all about them later due to the sedation. He was extremely surprised to find that colonoscopies and endoscopies are done under GA in France, all trussed up like a turkey by sheets wrapped around him for the journey to the theatre last year. I'm another who isn't keen on GAs too frequently for we more mature people - I'm still empty-headed and lacking in memory 5 weeks after a GA and it doesn't show any signs of improving yet. I'm forgetting all sorts of things, but suddenly came out with 'ragwort' this morning, apropos of nothing at all to do with plants!  [:(]

Good luck with getting what you want in France, OP.

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[quote user="NormanH"]You can just get an appointment with a Cardiologist, and could ask your surgeon to refer you for both that and the blood test.

I have a similar situation, in so much as I have to have regular Coloscopies. My surgeon refuses to do them without a GA pointing out that in case of an accidental bowel perforation  it is  better to be already asleep.

I know that the French and UK systems have different views.

I the past I have had one many years back without anything at all, and on another occasion woke up in the middle and can say that apart from slight alarm I had no problems.

[/quote]

Thanks NormanH, I hope you are well. A couple of years ago you contributed to the subject of colonoscopies, posted by me, on this very forum. This was immediately before I had a colonoscopy in France, and both you and others did make me feel less nervous about having the procedure, and for this I thank you.

When I first had my colonoscopy, likewise, my surgeon said that he only did the procedure under GA as there was less risk of perforation, and the fact that without GA, this procedure is generally less tolerated.

I had done extensive research into colonoscopies with and without GA, and by far, most patients had a level of discomfort I would consider to be well over my threshold, and in fact, the ones who said there was no pain were in a small minority.

I will again follow your advice and get my surgeon to refer me for the cardiology procedure, the blood tests, the anaesthetist, and the lovely colon emptying drink !
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[quote user="brodie19"] the ones who said there was no pain were in a small minority. [/quote] And what about those who enjoy it, you'd have to pay good money to have someone insert things up there in many towns. [:-))] [:D] I particularly liked the nurse who said " I am exposing your bottom"  "I bet you say that to all the boys" (credit to Jim Steinman for that line) I replied and it's all for our own good, you make it sound like something carried out at the London Dungeon or The Tower. Surprised you need that drink.

When the bottoms dropping out of your world, drink Picolax and let the world drop out of your bottom! [:D]

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Good one Théière, I miss your amusing posts !!!

Actually, during my last colonoscopie, getting wheeled into the operating theatre waiting room, the last comment I heard was from the porter, telling me that by the time I wakened up, my colonoscopy would be on YouTube !
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[quote user="brodie19"]Good one Théière, I miss your amusing posts !!!

Actually, during my last colonoscopie, getting wheeled into the operating theatre waiting room, the last comment I heard was from the porter, telling me that by the time I wakened up, my colonoscopy would be on YouTube ![/quote]

There are enough of them already, you missed the boat for fame like that, Lynn Faulds Woods beat you too it [;-)]

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I had both a colonoscopy and an endoscopy earlier this year and am happy I had a GA, I didn't feel any pain or discomfort and recovered quickly from the light anaesthetic.

For the blood test, I needed an ordnance, but couldn't your gastro specialist get one done for you?
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