What Is a Colonoscopy?
A Colonoscopy is a procedure performed by a Gastroenterologist to examine the lower portion of your gastrointestinal tract (the colon or large intestine), along with the rectum. The colon is approximately 4-5 feet in length. During the procedure, a thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope is used to transmit high quality images of the inside lining of your gastrointestinal tract to a video monitor.
When Would I Need a Colonoscopy?
Your physician may recommend a Colonoscopy to evaluate certain lower gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, or rectal bleeding. Colonoscopy is also considered the procedure of choice for colon cancer screening. Your doctor might use a Colonoscopy to obtain a tissue sample or biopsy. Biopsies are taken for many reasons, including distinguishing between benign and malignant (cancerous) conditions. A Colonoscopy is also used to treat many conditions of the lower gastrointestinal tract. Your physician can pass instruments through the colonoscope to directly treat many abnormalities. Examples include the removal of polyps or growths and the treatment of bleeding.
How Do I Prepare for a Colonoscopy?
Our staff at bhg will give you detailed instructions in advance. Preparation for a Colonoscopy includes taking medicine the night before your procedure that will clean out your colon. While this is often the most trying part of the entire exam, it is also the most crucial. The colon must be completely clean for the procedure to be accurate and complete. You will be started on a special clear liquids-only diet the day before your procedure and you will also be asked to fast the night before your procedure. Tell your doctor about any medical problems that you have and bring a complete list of your allergies and medications, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. Alert your doctor if you require antibiotics prior to dental or surgical procedures.
What Can I Expect During a Colonoscopy?
Patients are generally sedated for a Colonoscopy. Our doctors at bhg always use an anesthesiologist to administer your sedation. This is the safest way of having a procedure performed. Using an anesthesiologist allows your physician to concentrate his or her efforts on performing your procedure while your anesthesiologist monitors your vital signs and makes sure you remain comfortable. During the procedure, you will be lying on your left side. Prior to the procedure, your Gastroenterologist will perform a rectal examination using his or her finger. Your doctor will then pass the colonoscope into your rectum and through your colon. While the colonoscope is being passed, air may be introduced to help your Gastroenterologist see better. The colonoscope is then withdrawn slowly and the inner lining of the colon is carefully inspected. The procedure usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes to perform.