Colonoscopy is an imperfect gold standard for detecting colorectal neoplasms because some proportion of adenomas may be missed, mainly small lesions. This proportion is expected to be higher in case of inadequate bowel cleansing, which is frequently seen in routine practice. We estimated the proportions of neoplasms that are in principle detectable by colonoscopy but might be missed in case of incomplete bowel preparation.
For 8,193 participants of screening colonoscopy in South-Western Germany, recruited between 2005 and 2016, the prevalence and numbers of different findings were extracted from colonoscopy reports and compared according to the reported bowel preparation quality.
Bowel preparation quality was reported as good, poor, or was unspecified in 30.3%, 11.1%, and 58.6% of colonoscopy records. Reported prevalences of nonadvanced adenomas (NAAs) were similar among participants with poor and unspecified bowel preparation quality but substantially lower than among participants with good bowel preparation (adjusted prevalence rate ratio [RR] 0.86, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.77–0.96). The differences were observed for proximal but not for distal NAAs (RRs 0.82, 95% CI: 0.71–0.95 and 0.95, 95% CI: 0.82–1.10).