Colonoscopy is an examination by direct visualization of your large intestine (colon) with a lighted, flexible instrument called a colonoscope. The colonoscope enables your doctor to visualize the large intestine (colon), remove abnormal tissue and pass special instruments to perform biopsies or other specialized procedures
Although, colonoscopies are performed when patients are hospitalized, most colonoscopies are done on an outpatient basis. Once you arrive at the facility and have checked in, you will taken back to the “pre-op” area. There, the nurses will have you change into a cloth patient gown, take your history, check your pulse and blood pressure and start an “IV”. When it is your time to have the colonoscopy, you will taken to the procedure room, where the nurses will monitor your to blood pressure, EKG and blood oxygen level. This monitoring will continue throughout your exam. Your physician will greet you here and after you have had an opportunity to ask questions, your sedation will begin.
We are very focused on making sure that you are as comfortable as possible during your examination and therefore routinely use medications that allow you to have your exam without pain and awaken without a “hangover”. Our patients routinely report that they have no recollection of the procedure after it is completed and have no pain afterwards.
There are many reasons to have a colonoscopy. The most common are to screen and prevent colon cancer, evaluate internal bleeding, anemia, abdominal pain, abnormal bowel habits, and to follow up on an abnormal x-ray or laboratory test. The key advantage to this technique is the ability to not only examine the colon, but to also remove or sample any abnormal tissue or findings that are discovered during the examination. This is particularly helpful during examinations when pre-cancerous polyps are found, as they can be removed at the same time they are discovered. Other methods of examining the colon require a second procedure to remove these abnormal growths.
Preparing for the Test
In order to have a successful colonoscopy, it is necessary to prepare the colon. This means that you will need to take a laxative preparation before your examination. The physicians and staff of Digestive and Liver Specialists have chosen to use preparations that are safe and effective. Our patient’s safety is our first concern, during your initial visit with us, we will review your medications and medical history to determine which method of preparation is safest and easiest for you.
After your Procedure
Upon completion of your procedure, you will be taken to the recovery area. Your physician will come to your bedside to discuss the findings with you and a family member if available. However, if there were any biopsies or polyps removed during your examination the final results from the pathologist’s analysis may take more than a week
Once you leave the endoscopy area to go home, it is typical to resume your normal diet We do ask that you “take it easy” the day of the exam and not drive or operative any machinery or sign any important papers the day of the exam.
Colonoscopy is a very safe procedure, but as with any procedure risks do occur. Risks related to sedation, perforations of the colon or bleeding from polyp removal, either during the examination or later might occur. While these complications are uncommon, the physicians of Digestive and Liver Specialists are trained in dealing with these situations.