A colonoscopy allows the physician to examine the lower of your gastrointestinal tract.
This exam typically involves insertion of a flexible fiber optic tube (colonoscope) through your anus and rectum and into the colon whereby the doctor can visualize and evaluate the surface of entire colon and if needed , the end of the small intestine (terminal ileum). If necessary biopsies can be taken through the scope, polyps can be removed, narrow areas can be stretched (dilatation) and if bleeding is identified appropriate steps can be taken to stop the bleeding. This is typically done after intravenous sedation is provided. Most patients wake up unaware that they had the procedure
There are many reasons why your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy
Some of the reasons may be (not all inclusive)
-Colon cancer evaluation & Screening
-Surveillance if you had a history of colon polyps, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease
-anemia- low hemoglobin
-abnormal X-rays, radiologic imaging
Most of the time procedures are done electively after a laxative is used to clean the colon and on an empty stomach, so you should have nothing to eat or drink for at least 4 hours prior to the test. Discuss all the medications you are taking with your physician, as they may wish you to discontinue a drug. Make sure they are aware of any allergies to medications or medical conditions you have especially the use of blood thinners.
Colonoscopy is a safe procedure and although complications occur these are rare.
Typically, these include a reaction to the sedation that could lead to respiratory problems, bleeding from biopsy or removal of polyps (usually able to be addressed and stopped at the time of the procedure), perforation (tear in the intestinal wall) especially during dilatation or removal of a growth (may require surgery) or complications from heart or lung conditions. We urge you to discuss your concerns with your doctor. Post procedure instructions will be reviewed and follow up phone calls are made to see how you are feeling the day after your test
The preceding information is provided by DDC of NJ and is not a definitive basis for diagnosis and treatment in any individual case.