A Colonoscopy can Save Your Life

Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related death, but it is also one of only a few cancers that can be prevented. Colonoscopies are routine imaging procedures that serve as a colorectal cancer screening. During this procedure, doctors can find and remove polyps hidden in the colon before they become cancerous.

Colonoscopy: What to Expect

A colonoscopy allows your doctor to visualize the lining of your large intestine. It can be performed as part of a routine screening, for patients with known polyps or family history of polyps, to evaluate a change in bowel habits such as diarrhea or constipation, to evaluate bleeding, or to evaluate changes in the lining of the colon, also known as inflammatory disorders.

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A step-by-step guide to colonoscopies:

  • Your bowels will need to be emptied. Your doctor may provide you with laxatives and create a temporary clear liquid diet for you to follow a few days before the procedure.
  • Most patients are sedated for the procedure. You will need someone to accompany you to your appointment so they can drive you home afterward.
  • An IV is inserted into the arm so that you stay hydrated before and during the procedure.
  • No incisions are needed for a colonoscopy. Instead, a small flexible camera is inserted through the rectum and into the colon. If you received sedation, you should be asleep while this is happening.
  • If abnormal tissue is found, the physician may perform a biopsy, wherein a small sample of tissue is cut and removed for testing.
  • Any polyps found during the colonoscopy will be removed.

Once the colonoscopy is completed, you will be transferred to a Post Anesthesia Care Suite until you are ready to go home. The procedure only takes 20 minutes to an hour, but most patients require an hour of rest afterward as they wake-up from anesthesia. Be prepared to spend several hours at the hospital or clinic the day of your colonoscopy. Your physician will review the results of your colonoscopy after the procedure or during a follow-up visit.

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