What Is a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a test used by a physician to examine the large intestine and rectum for any changes or abnormalities. The doctor may suggest this procedure for a number of reasons. He may want to investigate intestinal signs and symptoms to identify the cause of abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, chronic constipation or diarrhea or other gastrointestinal complaints. The colonoscopy is also used to check for polyps and remove them. This is common for patients who have had polyps in the colon previously. The procedure is also a common cancer screening for people over the age of 50 or with a family history of colon cancer. The screening is usually carried out every ten years unless the patient has an increased risk.
What Happens During a Colonoscopy?
The patient will usually be given a mild sedative and asked to wear a gown. The patient will also be asked to follow a restricted diet, or fast for several hours before the procedure. In most cases, the patient will take a laxative prior to the procedure or have an enema to clear out the lower gastrointestinal track, which allows an easier exam. During the exam, the patient will lie on his or her side, with knees drawn up to the chest. The scope will be introduced to the colon, and the doctor will allow some air to inflate the colon, allowing him to get a better look at the inside of the organ. The patient may feel some pressure when the colon is inflated or the doctor moves the instrument, but the procedure is not known to be painful. The colonoscope has a light and camera on the tip, which feeds images back to a video screen for the doctor to review. The procedure usually takes between 20 minutes to an hour.
How Will I Feel After the Colonoscopy?
Following the procedure, the patient will usually spend about an hour resting in the doctor’s office or hospital to allow the sedative to wear off and any excess air to escape the colon. The patient will need HOMEPAGE someone to drive him or her home. He or she may feel bloated, gassy, or experience some mild cramping for a few hours until any excess air is released from the colon. If any polyps are removed, the patient may notice a small amount of blood in the next bowel movement. The doctor will be in touch with the results of the test and suggestions for any follow-up appointments. Please call our office for a complete list of insurance plans that we participate in. Note: Our business office will work with you if you currently have no insurance coverage.