A colonoscopy is a procedure performed to examine the inside of the rectum and colon for any abnormalities like polyps or tumors. This minimally invasive procedure uses a small camera attached to a flexible tube, called a colonoscope, allowing your doctor to view the interior lining of the large intestine and the lowest part of the small intestine. Colonoscopies are recommended every 10 years for patients over 50 years of age or if you are experiencing persistent abdominal pain, chronic constipation or diarrhea, or rectal bleeding. They are also used to screen for colon cancer. A colonoscopy will help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis of the intestinal problem and create a personalized treatment plan for your specific case.
How to Prepare for the Procedure
Prior to the procedure, we will provide you with instructions to help you prepare for your colonoscopy. This may include a special liquid diet, taking a laxative and using an enema kit the day prior to your appointment. It may also be necessary to adjust your medication dosages, so please inform of us of any medications you are taking.
What to Expect During the Procedure
The procedure usually takes between 20 minutes to an hour, and it is performed under mild sedation to help you relax. While lying on your side with your knees drawn toward your chest, your doctor will gently insert the colonoscope into your rectum. The video camera at the tip of the colonoscope will transmit images to a monitor, enabling your doctor to examine the inside of your colon. If needed, a tiny biopsy may be taken during the procedure as well.
What to Expect After the Procedure
The sedative takes about an hour to wear off, so have someone accompany you to your visit to drive you home. You should rest the remainder of the day, but you should be able to resume normal activities the following day. You may experience slight bloating and cramping following the procedure due to the air that was inserted through the tube, but it will quickly subside. You may also notice small amounts of blood in your stool after the procedure, but this is normal. However, contact your doctor if the bleeding continues after your first bowel movement, if you have a fever of a 100 degrees or higher, or if you have persistent abdominal pain.