A colonoscopy involves an examination of the entire colon with a high definition video camera. During the test, the gastroenterologist carefully examines the colon. If abnormalities are noted, biopsies may be obtained. If polyps are found, they are usually removed.
Reasons for Colonoscopy
Colonoscopy can be extremely helpful diagnostically in evaluating disorders of the colon such as constipation, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Colonoscopy is also considered to be the “gold standard” for colon cancer screening. It is recommended that patients starting at age 50 undergo screening. Any polyps detected at the time of colonoscopy will be removed. Studies indicate that colon cancer can be reduced by almost 80% with quality colon cancer screening and polyp removal.
How is the test performed?
To ensure a quality procedure, it is crucial that the bowel is thoroughly cleaned out with a laxative preparation the day before the test. You should have nothing to eat or drink 6 hours before your scheduled procedure. After you are admitted to the outpatient facility, a nurse will start an IV. Before the process, an anesthesia specialist will administer IV medication to be sure you are asleep and comfortable during the test. The gastroenterologist will then insert the flexible video colonoscope into the rectum and carefully advance the instrument to the end of the colon. If inflammation or tissue that appears abnormal is identified, biopsies may be obtained. If polyps are noted, these are removed.
What to Plan
The procedure usually takes 20-30 minutes. You can expect to be in the facility for several hours.
Preparation is key to a successful procedure. Contact us for more information about Colonoscopy.