While no one looks forward to having a colonoscopy it is an important procedure that can be life saving. Once you understand the purpose of a colonoscopy it may be easier for you to schedule yours.
The colonoscopy allows the physician to take a look inside your entire large intestine. The physician can look from the lowest part (rectum) up through the colon to the lower end of the small intestine. During the procedure the physician is looking for early signs of cancer in the colon and rectum. The colonoscopy also enables the doctor to diagnose the causes of unexplained changes in bowel habits, inflamed tissue, abnormal growths, ulcers, or bleeding.
During the procedure you will lie on your left side on an examining table. Most likely you will be given a sedative and medicine for pain so you will be comfortable and relaxed during the entire exam. A long flexible lighted tube will be inserted into your rectum. The physician will slowly guide it into your colon.
The tube is called a colonoscope. The scope is able to transmit an image of the inside of the colon allowing the physician to carefully examine the the lining of the colon. The scopes blows air into the colon to inflate it therefore helping the physician to see better. The scopes bends, so the physician can move it around the curves of the colon. There may be times you are ask to change positions to help the physician move the scope more easily. You may or may not remember anything that goes on during the colonoscopy.
If a polyp or inflamed tissue is found during the colonoscopy the physician can remove all or part of it using tiny instruments passed through the scope. This tissue, called a biopsy, is then sent to a lab for testing. If there is any bleeding in the colon the physician can pass a laser, heater probe, or electrical probe to stop the bleeding. Sometimes special medicines may be injected through the scope to stop bleeding.
Complications are uncommon. However, bleeding and puncture of the colon are possible complications of the colonoscopy.
The entire colonoscopy last between 30 to 60 minutes. The sedative and pain medicine should be able to keep you from feeling much discomfort during the exam. You will be required to stay at the facility where the colonoscopy is done for 1 to 2 hours. This stay is to ensure the sedative has worn off. As with any procedure where a sedative is used you will need someone with you to drive you home.
The hardest part of the colonoscopy may just be the preparation. The colon must be completely empty for the colonoscopy to be thorough and safe. In order to prepare for the procedure you may be ask to follow a liquid diet for 1 to 3 days beforehand. This diet will require you to have fat-free bouillon or broth, strained fruit juice, water, plain coffee, plain tea, or diet soda. You may be able to have gelatin or popsicles in any color except red. You will also have to take one of several types of laxatives the night before the colonoscopy is done.
This procedure can be done at Outpatient Services East. Give them a call today: 205-838-3888.