Colon cancer remains the second leading cause of all cancer-related deaths in the U.S. and fortunately, colonoscopy is up to 90% effective in reducing these deaths. Colonoscopy is a diagnostic and treatment procedure used to examine the colon with a camera-equipped flexible instrument, and, if needed, remove polyps with the potential to become colon cancers, during the exam.
The procedure typically lasts 30 to 60 minutes and requires bowel prep prior to the procedure to ensure that we can adequately visualize the inside of your colon. Your physician will give you some options for your bowel prep but ALL will give you diarrhea within three hours. We, therefore, recommend that you stay at home and near a bathroom after starting the prep.
Day of the Procedure
We ask that you arrive 90 minutes ahead of your procedure start time to properly prepare. During that time, you will have the opportunity to ask your gastroenterologist and anesthesiologist any questions. An IV catheter will be placed in an arm or hand vein where a conscious sedation medication will be given. Most patients tolerate the procedure well with little memory of the actual procedure. Our goal is to ensure you have a comfortable experience, and we will provide as much sedation as can be safely administered for your individual needs.
Once you are medicated, the colonoscope will be inserted through the rectum and guided to the beginning of the colon. Your physician may inject water or air into the colon to help with the visualization. If abnormal tissue is discovered, it will be biopsied, and photos of the areas will be obtained and reviewed with you. Polyps are commonly seen during colonoscopy and your physician will remove and biopsy these during the exam. If polyps are removed, your physician will discuss this afterward with you and your friend/family member and ask that you refrain from taking aspirin or NSAIDs for several days afterward.
After your procedure, you will be monitored and allowed to recover for approximately 30-60 minutes. You may experience abdominal soreness or feel bloating or cramping due to the air introduced into the colon during your test. Almost every patient can resume a normal diet immediately afterward. You will be sent home with a copy of your procedure report and instructions. Your referring physician will receive a copy of the report within the week. As a reminder, since you will be sedated for a colonoscopy, you are required to have an adult drive you home. A cab, Uber, or Lyft is not sufficient. If you do not have a driver to take you home, your appointment will be canceled/rescheduled. We suggest that you relax for the rest of the day and not attempt to work or drive.