Colonoscopy lets your doctor examine the lining of your large intestine (colon) for abnormalities by inserting a thin flexible tube, as thick as your finger, into your anus and slowly advancing it into the rectum and colon. This instrument, called a colonoscope, has its own lens and light source and it allows your doctor to view images on a video monitor.
Colonoscopy may be recommended as a screening test for colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Annually, approximately 150,000 new cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed in the United States and 50,000 people die from the disease. It has been estimated that increased awareness and screening would save at least 30,000 lives each year. Colonoscopy may also be recommended by your doctor to evaluate for symptoms such as bleeding and chronic diarrhea.
Instructions for cleansing of the entire bowel will be given to you by your doctor. Please make sure you purchase your preparation in advance and follow your doctor’s instructions. If you have any questions, please contact your doctor’s office.
Please refer to your doctor’s instructions on what you can and cannot drink/eat while prepping.
You may be asked to stop blood-thinning medications before your procedure. Check with your doctor for exact instructions.
The admitting nurse will review your history including current medications that you are taking. You will speak to both your doctor and the anesthesiologist prior to your procedure. Intravenous (IV) sedation is used during a colonoscopy. When it is time to start the procedure, you will be asked to lie on your left side. Once sedation takes effect, the colonoscope is inserted through the rectum and moved gently around the bends of the colon. As the doctor advances the scope through the colon, he/she can see the lining of the colon on a screen. Typically, the doctor views the entire large intestine. Biopsies may be taken and any specimens will be sent to the lab for analysis. The average procedure time is 15-30 minutes.
Immediately following your procedure, you will spend time resting in the recovery room for at least 30 minutes. You may feel bloated due to air insertion during your procedure; passing the air will help relieve the discomfort. Once you are fully awake, your nurse will give you juice. Your doctor will speak to you regarding the procedure results.
If a biopsy was taken, your doctor may have you call their office or make a follow up appointment to review the biopsy results.
You should be able to resume normal activity the next day. Your recovery nurse will review your discharge instructions and your daily medications.
You will receive a call from a nurse at our center the day after your procedure to see how you are feeling. Feel free to ask any questions at this time.