Colonoscopy

What is the test?

This test is ordered by your GI doctor to evaluate the lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This area includes the rectum, the colon, and if indicated an assessment of the end part of your small intestine called the ileum.

Why do we do the test?

A colonoscopy is performed for a number of reasons including but not limited to; rectal bleeding, a change in bowel habits, abdominal pain, constipation, and chronic diarrhea. The most common reason for a colonoscopy is routine colon cancer screening, and surveillance in those with a family or personal history of colorectal cancer and/or polyps. Colon cancer screening is recommended for all people age 50 or over, and sooner in special circumstances.

How to prepare?

Following your visit in the office or phone call with a nurse we will set up a time and date for your procedure. Depending on your circumstance, you may need special accommodations including advanced anesthesia or a hospital setting. The majority of our procedures can be performed in our ambulatory surgery center located right here at 1375 Washington Avenue.

We will give you instructions on which medications to take and which medications you may need to hold. Please inform your provider if you take diabetes medications or blood thinners (ie. Aspirin, Plavix, Warfarin) so we can give you special instructions. Please always make arrangements to have a friend or family member accompany you to the procedure and drive you home.

Preparation for a colonoscopy is work, but the closer you adhere to our detailed instructions the better the result will be. You will be assigned a specific bowel preparation depending on your needs. Please see below for detailed information on all of our bowel preps. Your physician will tell you which prep is best for you. Most patients take a combination of laxatives at set times the day prior to your procedure. All patients will have to modify their diet in the days leading up to the procedure to produce the best result.

What to expect?

When you arrive to our ASC or one of our partner hospitals, you will be checked in and brought to our pre-procedure area. Here you will meet with our nurses and an intravenous (IV) catheter will be inserted into your hand or arm. This small tube will allow your doctor to administer sedation for the test. The majority of our cases are performed under conscious sedation, this is not general anesthesia and you may experience wakefulness at times, and our goal is to make you as comfortable as possible. Safety is always our number one priority. When the procedure is completed you will be brought to the recovery area and your doctor will update you with results prior to your departure. If a biopsy is taken, the result will be sent to you typically within 7-10 days. Mild gassiness, bloating and cramping is typical for several hours following the procedure. You can go back to eating normally once you are discharged.

Risks

A routine colonoscopy is quite safe. Rare, but serious risks of the procedure include bleeding, damage to the intestine including perforation, medication allergy, infection, and breathing issues. If you have questions regarding the risks please discuss with your provider.