is a colonoscopy dangerous when having a flare up of ulcerative colitis?

This question was asked in Irvine, California on 01/17/2012.
is a colonoscopy dangerous when having a flare up of ulcerative colitis?

Doctors Answers (2)

Shahram Javaheri, M.D.
Answered on: 1/21/2012

This depends on the severity of the flare-up. Colonoscopy is not typically dangerous during a mild to moderate flare-up of ulcerative colitis. It may even be performed during a severe flare-up, but the endoscopist should be careful in not advancing the colonoscope if the inflammation is severe and therefore compromising the lumen of the colon or if the patient appears very sick (distended and tender abdomen, fever, etc). Remember, ulcerative colitis is often diagnosed by a colonoscopy, and this may be during a severe flare-up. In a patient with an established diagnosis of ulcerative colitis, a colonsocopy is usually not necessary during an acute flare-up for treatment unless the symptoms are refractory to medical therapy and biopsies are required to rule out an infectious source or dysplasia/cancer.

David Myles Nolan
Answered on: 1/18/2012

Colonoscopy always has a risk of causing bleeding or perforation associated with it.? This risk is increased significantly during a flare of UC.? That being said, many times to diagnose a flare you will need a colonoscopy to diagnose it, and will have to weight those risks and benefits with your gastroenterologist.