Another common concern regarding side effects of a colonoscopy include the possible threat of perforation during the procedure. Endoscopic perforation happens when the instrument punctures the wall of the colon during the screening. This can happen at any time during the procedure with some individuals being at a higher risk than others. The risk of perforation in patient may increase if the individual has existing colon abnormalities.
Perforation during colonoscopy may happen at the time of insertion of the device, from the side of the instrument rupturing the lower colon or even during polyp removal.
A large, visible perforation is considered an emergency and is treated with surgery close to the puncture. In other cases when there may be smaller tears, the problem of perforation may be treated with bowel rest, antibiotics and careful monitoring.
Early symptoms of perforation occur with persistent abdominal pain and dissention. Later some patients may develop peritonitis which is an inflammation of the membrane that covers the organs in the abdomen. When the protective membrane known as peritoneum gets damaged, bacteria enter it through the perforation and can cause symptoms like fever, chills and abdominal tenderness.