What is Colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy is an examination of the large intestine and occasionally part of the small bowel using a camera on a flexible tube. The procedure provides a visual diagnosis for polyps, cancer, diverticulosis and other health concerns, and allows for the biopsy or removal of suspicious lesions.
When is a Colonoscopy Necessary?
People 45-50 years of age or older should undergo a baseline colonoscopy to screen for polyps or colon cancer in the large intestine. Other medical conditions may also indicate the need for a colonoscopy, including abdominal pain, change in bowel habits, bleeding, anemia, chronic diarrhea or diverticular disease. Your doctor will discuss whether the procedure is right for you.
Preparing for Your Procedure:
For two days prior to your procedure, we’ll ask you to follow a low fiber or clear-liquid only diet. Foods and drinks that are okay to ingest include apple juice, bouillon, lemon-lime soda or sports drink, and water. Foods to avoid include orange juice, prune juice, milk, cola and coffee.
During Your Procedure:
You will be sedated throughout your procedure to minimize discomfort and ensure a successful procedure. The scope is a lighted, flexible tube that allows the doctor to examine the colon for polyps and other abnormalities. Biopsies may be taken for further analysis, if necessary.
The examination will take approximately 45 minutes. Suspicious lesions can be biopsied, cauterized, or removed completely. Medication may be administered during the procedure to control bleeding and speed healing.
Possible complications, though generally extremely rare, will be addressed at your first visit.
After Your Procedure:
You will be transferred to a recovery room following your procedure to allow the sedative to wear off. You may experience some discomfort for 24 hours following your procedure and you should eat lightly throughout the remainder of the day.
Since you will be sedated, you will not be able to drive after your colonoscopy. You must arrange for a responsible adult driver to accompany you to and from the endoscopy unit.
If polyps are removed, you will be instructed to avoid strenuous physical activities and any blood thinning medication (such as Aspirin, Plavix, Coumadin) for 7-10 days.
Based on the results of your initial screening, a re-screening every 5-10 years or sooner is common if medically indicated.
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