Colonoscopy is performed to evaluate the large intestine (colon) and is used to diagnose and treat a variety of colon conditions including finding and removing colon polyps that may lead to colon cancer. Initial colon cancer screening by colonoscopy is currently recommended at age 50 and every seven to 10 years thereafter. If you have a family or personal history of colon cancer or colon polyps, this procedure might be recommended more often.
The colonoscope is a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera at its tip. It will be inserted into the rectum and gradually advanced through the entire colon. The lining of the colon will be examined thoroughly and then the scope will be slowly withdrawn. If you have a colon polyp or growth within the colon, it can usually be removed during the procedure. Depending on your situation, it may also be necessary to perform a tissue biopsy from the lining of the colon during your colonoscopy.
Preparing for a colonoscopy
To best examine the colon, it must be cleared of waste material. Therefore, the day prior to your scheduled colonoscopy you will be on a clear liquid diet followed by one of several bowel-cleansing preparations. After reviewing your medical history and medications, you and your doctor will decide on the best bowel prep for you.
You can expect to be at the hospital for about three hours. When you arrive you will be asked to change into a hospital gown. An intravenous line (IV) will be started in your arm or hand. You will be given medication through the IV to make you feel relaxed and sleepy.
After the procedure is complete, you will be taken to a recovery area for a short time until most of the effects of the sedation medication have worn off. A companion must accompany you to the procedure because you will not be able to drive afterward. You will likely be able to resume a normal diet after the colonoscopy. Most people feel tired after the procedure and may have a little gas or bloating from air introduced into the colon during the procedure. By the following day most people feel back to normal and can resume normal activities, including driving.
A demand colonoscopy allows you to do the initial visit preparations at home and avoid an extra doctor office visit. Patients choosing this convenient service will contact Ann Marie Davis at (502) 896-4711 to register and recieve a packet of information in the mail. The patient will schedule the appointment once all materials are returned and meet the gastroenterologist at the hospital for the colonoscopy.