This procedure allows the physician to examine the lining of the large intestine (colon) by inserting a flexible tube (called a colonoscope) about the thickness of a finger into the anus, then advancing it into the rectum and colon. This procedure can be used to find precancerous or cancerous polyps and remove them.
Over 50? You know you need a colonoscopy. Screening is now even more convenient!
Our open access colonoscopy allows healthy patients without significant gastrointestinal symptoms to have a colonoscopy without the inconvenience of a preliminary appointment. It saves time, money, and most importantly it saves lives.
Our highly trained staff can determine if you qualify for this program. If you feel you are a candidate, contact our office today. We will review your medical history over the phone, ensuring it is safe to proceed with the procedure without a preliminary appointment.
How should I prepare for this procedure?
The intestine needs to be cleansed beforehand, so the doctor will tell you what specific dietary restrictions to follow and how to prepare for the procedure.
What happens during a colonoscopy exam?
You should plan to spend about two hours at one of our endoscopy centers the day of your colonoscopy. The exam itself, however, only takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes to complete.
Since you will be under sedation during the procedure, you will need to arrive with someone who can drive you home and plan to take the remainder of the day off from work.
Before the exam:
- You will change into a gown and robe.
- You will be asked about your medical history and family history of colon cancer.
- You will be given a consent form to sign.
During the exam:
- You will be given medicine through an IV line in your hand or arm to help you relax.
- You will lie on your left side.
- Your heart rate and oxygen levels will be monitored continuously. If your blood pressure is low you may be given fluids through your IV line.
- The doctor will insert a flexible, hollow tube (called a colonoscope) into your anus and will advance it slowly through the rectum and colon, looking for abnormal tissue or polyps.
- If abnormal tissue or polyps are found, the doctor may remove them through the colonoscope for closer examination or biopsy. Tissue removal is painless.
After the exam:
- You will rest for about 30 minutes after the colonoscopy until most of the effects of the medication have worn off.
- The doctor will talk with you about the initial results of your examination.
- The doctor will prepare a full report for the physician who referred you for the colonoscopy.
- Following the exam, you may resume your normal diet. You should, however, avoid alcohol on the day of your exam.
- You may have some cramping or bloating after the procedure. This is normal and should disappear quickly by passing gas.
- You may resume your regular activities the day after the procedure.
- If you take a blood thinning medication such as aspirin, Coumadin or Plavix be sure and clarify instruction before you leave.
- A nurse will provide you with complete discharge instructions before you leave the endoscopy center.
- Any tissue samples or polyps removed during the exam will be sent to a lab for evaluation. It may take 7-10 working days to be notified of the results.
Will the physician be able to examine my entire colon?
In most cases, yes. A full examination of the colon from the cecum (a pouch at the point where the large intestine begins) to the rectum is called cecal intubation. Cecal intubation during a colonoscopy eliminates the need for other procedures such as a barium enema or a follow-up colonoscopy to complete the examination. A physician performing colonoscopies should be able to accomplish cecal intubation in 90% of patients. GAP’s success rate exceeds this benchmark at 99%.
What are the possible complications of a colonoscopy?
Although complications can occur, they are rare when doctors who are specially trained and experienced in this procedure perform the test. Bleeding can occur at a biopsy site or where a polyp was removed, but it’s usually minimal and rarely requires follow-up. Other potential risks include a reaction to the sedative used, complications from heart or lung diseases, and perforation. It’s important to recognize early signs of possible complications. If you have a fever after the test, trouble swallowing or increasing chest or abdominal pain, tell your doctor immediately.