Published online Mar 16, 2010. doi: 10.4253/wjge.v2.i3.81
Revised: January 30, 2010
Accepted: February 6, 2010
Published online: March 16, 2010
Unsedated colonoscopy is available worldwide, but is not a routine option in the United States (US). We conducted a literature review supplemented by our experience and expert commentaries to provide data to support the use of unsedated colonoscopy for colorectal cancer screening. Medline data from 1966 to 2009 were searched to identify relevant articles on the subject. Data were summarized and co-authors provided critiques as well as accounts of unsedated colonoscopy for screening and surveillance. Diagnostic colonoscopy was initially developed as an unsedated procedure. Procedure-related discomfort led to wide adoption of sedation in the US, although unsedated colonoscopy remains the usual practice elsewhere. The increased use of colonoscopy for colorectal cancer screening in healthy, asymptomatic individuals suggests a reassessment of the burden of sedation in colonoscopy for screening is appropriate in the US for lowering costs and minimizing complications for patients. A water method developed to minimize discomfort has shown promise to enhance outcomes of unsedated colonoscopy. The use of scheduled, unsedated colonoscopy in the US appears to be feasible for colorectal cancer screening. Studies to assess its applicability in diverse practice settings deserve to be conducted and supported.