Background: Colonoscopy can be difficult in some women who have undergone hysterectomy, which can be associated with a fixed, angulated sigmoid colon caused by postoperative pelvic adhesions. Our goal was to determine whether colonoscopy is easier and more comfortable for women after hysterectomy when performed with a pediatric colonoscope, which is thinner in diameter and more flexible than a standard "adult" colonoscope.
Methods: One hundred women with a history of hysterectomy undergoing outpatient colonoscopy were randomized in unblinded fashion to colonoscopy with a standard colonoscope (CF-100L or CF-Q140L, Olympus) or with a pediatric colonoscope (PCF-100, Olympus). All procedures were performed by a faculty endoscopist and timed. After examination, the endoscopist graded procedure difficulty, and patients were given a questionnaire that assessed their experience.
Results: The cecum was intubated more frequently in the pediatric colonoscope group than in the standard colonoscope group (96.1% vs. 71.4%, p < 0.001). Success increased in the standard colonoscope group to 89.8% when the pediatric colonoscope was used to complete the examination. There were no differences in the two groups in terms of mean total procedure times (21.4 minutes vs. 22.6 minutes), mean doses of meperidine administered (57 mg both groups), mean doses of midazolam administered (1.5 mg vs. 1.7 mg), scales of procedure difficulty as graded by the endoscopists, and comfort scales as graded by patients. For the cases in which the cecum was intubated, the mean time to reach the cecum (11.7 minutes for the pediatric colonoscope group vs. 12.7 minutes for the adult) was similar.
Conclusions: The pediatric colonoscope is a reasonable choice for colonoscopy in women who have had a hysterectomy. Alternatively, if the endoscopist elects to start the procedure with a standard colonoscope, it is helpful to have a pediatric colonoscope available for use should a fixed, angulated sigmoid colon be encountered that cannot be easily or safely traversed with the standard colonoscope.