What is colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a visual examination of your large intestine (colon) and rectum through a lighted flexible tube called a colonoscope. This procedure is the most accurate test to detect colon cancer and colon polyps as well as other disease of the colon. During the colonoscopy abnormal tissue can be sampled/biopsied, and polyps can be removed if detected.
To produce the best results, you will drink a bowel cleansing preparation to help clean out your colon. Even if your stools are clear, it is important to take all of the colon prep as directed, because your body is always making fluid and small polyps can hide behind this fluid.
What happens during a colonoscopy?
Expect to spend up to 2 hours at the endoscopy center on the day of your colonoscopy. The procedure itself takes about 20 to 40 minutes to complete.
During the procedure:
During your procedure the anesthesia provider will administer medications through an IV and monitor vital signs which is a process known as Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC). The anesthesiologist or CRNA will help determine the appropriate type of drug to be used during the procedure to keep you safe and comfortable.
What happens after the procedure?
The physician will discuss the results of the procedure with you, as well as a family member if you choose. You will also be given a written report and post procedure instructions. Some patients experience cramping and/or bloating after the procedure which should resolve after passing gas. Any tissue samples or polyps removed during the procedure will be sent to a lab for evaluation. You will be contacted by phone or mail with the results in 1 – 2 weeks.
You may resume most of your regular activities the day after the procedure. Due to the medications given during the procedure DO NOT drive on the day of your procedure. You may resume your normal diet, but alcohol should be avoided until the next day after your procedure.