A colonoscopy is a medical procedure performed by a physician in order to look at the inside of the rectum and colon. This is done by using a thin, flexible tube that has a camera and light source attached to it. By doing this, any inflamed tissues, ulcers, or abnormal growths (such as polyps or tumors) can be detected. The colonoscopy procedure is often used as a way to look for early signs of colorectal cancer, as well as to diagnose unexplained changes in bowel habits, abdominal pain,
rectal bleeding and weight loss In recent years, colonoscopies have become increasingly common for colon cancer screening, as they can not only detect the cancer, but help prevent it from occurring as well.

How Do You Prepare For A Colonoscopy?

Before a colonoscopy, the colon and rectum must be cleared of any stool residue. All patients will be given written instructions on how to prepare for the procedure. For three days before the colonoscopy, patients will be required to restrict their diet. They will first be told to avoid any foods or drinks containing fiber (low residue diet). Then, on the day before the procedure, they will be instructed to start a clear liquid diet. Several hours before the procedure, patients will usually start to drink a strong laxative. The types of laxative preparations GardenStateGastro uses are listed below:

    • GoLytely/Nulytely may be taken in the morning or evening before a colonoscopy.
    • Citrate of Magnesia may be taken in the morning or evening before a colonoscopy.

If patients do not follow the instructions for the colonoscopy preparation or do not complete the laxative preparation as instructed, it can lead to too much stool residue in the colon. This residue will impair the physician‘s ability to detect polyps and tumors, and thus limit the procedure‘s effectiveness in reducing the patient‘s risk of colon cancer. If there is stool residue present on the colon, it is likely that the physician will not be able to continue with the colonoscopy. In this case, the patient will need to follow the diet and laxative instructions again and schedule the colonoscopy on a different day.

Before a colonoscopy procedure, it is generally advised that patients refrain from eating or drinking for 4 to 8 hours. This also includes abstaining from smoking and chewing gum. It is important that patients inform their doctor about any and all health conditions they have, especially if they are suffering from heart or lung problems, diabetes, or allergies. Additionally, patients should also let their doctor know about any medications they are currently taking. There may be some medications which patients will be asked to temporarily stop taking, as they can affect blood clotting or interact with sedatives.

Some medications and vitamins may need to be restricted before and after a colonoscopy including:

    • over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen
    • prescription blood thinners
    • blood pressure medications
    • diabetes medications
    • antidepressants
    • dietary supplements

You will not be able to drive for 24 hours after your upper GI endoscopy. This is because the sedatives will still be working and it would not be safe. Please make sure you have arranged for a lift home before your appointment.

What Is The Process Of A Colonoscopy?

After changing into a gown, patients belongings will be stored in a secure area at the hospital or outpatient center. An intravenous (IV) needle will be placed in a vein in the arm to administer sedatives, which will help patients stay relaxed and comfortable. Most patients fall asleep with sedatives during the procedure. While patients are sedated, the doctor and medical staff will monitor vital signs. Patients will continue to breathe on their own throughout the procedure.

Patients during colonoscopy lie on their left side on an examination table. The doctor inserts a long, flexible, lighted tube called a colonoscope, or scope, into the anus. They then slowly guide it through the rectum and into the colon.The doctor will inflate the large intestine with air using a scope, in order to get a better view. The scope has a small camera on it, which transmits a video image from inside the large intestine to a computer screen. This allows the doctor to carefully examine the intestinal lining. The doctor may periodically ask the patient to move so the scope can be adjusted for better viewing. Once the scope has reached the opening to the small intestine, it is slowly withdrawn and the doctor carefully examines the lining of the large intestine again.

During a colonoscopy, a doctor can remove growths called polyps and test them in a laboratory for signs of cancer. Although polyps are common in adults and are usually harmless, most colorectal cancer begins as a polyp. Therefore, removing polyps early is an effective way to prevent cancer. The doctor can also take samples of abnormal-looking tissues during a colonoscopy. The doctor can later look at the tissue for signs of disease with a microscope, through a procedure called a biopsy.

What Happens When The Colonoscopy Is Finished?

After the colonoscopy, patients are moved to a recovery room where they will wait for approximately an hour for the sedative to wear off. Patients may experience abdominal pain, bloating or nausea during this time. It is likely that patients will feel tired and should plan to rest for the remainder of the day. Patients may resume their normal diet and medications unless otherwise directed. Some results from the colonoscopy, such as biopsy results, are usually available within one to two weeks. However, the doctor will often share other results with the patient immediately after the sedative has worn off.

    What Risks Are Associated With A Colonoscopy?

    Although the risks linked to colonoscopy are not high, bleeding may result from a biopsy or from removing a polyp or growth during the colonoscopy. In most cases, the bleeding will stop on its own or can be controlled through the colonoscopy. Perforation (a hole or a deep tear in the lining of the colon or rectum) is a rare complication that may require surgery. Other rare risks include injury to other organs, such as the spleen, or complications related to the anesthetics and sedatives used during the procedure (breathing difficulties, aspiration).

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