What is Colonoscopy: Overview
According to the American Cancer Society colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer related death in the United State. The colorectal cancer can be prevented by removing pre- cancerous colon polyps and when detected in the earliest stage, it is up to 90% curable. The goal of a screening colonoscopy is to find and remove any abnormal growths or polyps. In addition to screening, a colonoscopy may be indicated for other reason, such as unexplained abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits, rectal bleeding, weight loss, iron deficient anemia and follow up on inflammatory bowel disease.
What preparation is required?
Your physician will give you detailed instruction about diet and the necessary bowel prep. The preparation consists of consuming a large volume of a special cleansing solution, which will be prescribed by your physician. The colon must be completely clean in order for the procedure to be accurate and complete. You will be on clear liquids the entire day before your procedure. Acceptable liquids include fat free bouillon or broth, strained clear fruit juice, water, sports drink such as Gatorade, Crystal Light, or white or green tea. It is very important to follow the instructions given to you by your physician. Certain medications needs to be stopped 4-5 days prior to your procedure such as aspirin products, arthritis medications, iron supplements, anticoagulants such as Coumadin, warfarin, plavix and antiplatlets such as aggrenox, ticlid or as instructed.
What to expect during the procedure?
You will be asked to lie down on your left side on the examination table. Once the sedation takes effect, then the doctor inserts a thin long flexible lighted tube into the rectum and advance through the entire colon. As the colonoscope make its way through the colon, the physician can see the lining of the colon on a TV screen. If polyps are found, your doctor can perform Polypectomy or biopsy, which is then sent for a further pathology examination and it will normally takes 3-5 days to get the result.
What can I expect after the procedure?
Once you recover from the effect of the sedation, you can be discharged; however a responsible adult must be there to take you home. Some cramping, bloating or abdominal pain can occur during the first few hours after the procedure. Full recovery is expected by the next day. Discharge instructions should be carefully read and followed. Please call our office if you experience severe abdominal pain, fever, chills or heavy rectal bleeding.