Colonoscopy enables your doctor to examine the lining of your colon (large intestine) for abnormalities. Your doctor will use a thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope, which has its own lens and light source, and will view the images on a video monitor. Please ask Dr. Bravo about anything you don’t understand.
Common Questions and Answers:
What is Colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy is a procedure which enables a physician (usually a gastroenterologist) to directly image and examine the entire colon. It is effective in the diagnosis and/or evaluation of various GI disorders (e.g. colon polyps, colon cancer, diverticulosis, inflammatory bowel disease, bleeding, change in bowel habits, abdominal pain, obstruction and abnormal x-rays or CT scans) as well as in providing therapy (for example, removal of polyps or control of bleeding). It is also used for screening for colon cancer. A key advantage of this technique is that it allows both imaging of abnormal findings and also therapy or removal of these lesions during the same examination. This procedure is particularly helpful for identification and removal of precancerous polyps.
What preparation is required for a colonoscopy?
Your doctor will tell you what dietary restrictions to follow and what cleansing routine to use. In general, the preparation consists of either consuming a large volume of a special cleansing solution or clear liquids and special oral laxatives. The colon must be completely clean for the procedure to be accurate and complete, so be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.
What happens during a colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy is well-tolerated and rarely causes much pain. You might feel pressure, bloating or cramping during the procedure. Your doctor might give you a sedative to help you relax and better tolerate any discomfort. You will lie on your side or back while your doctor slowly advances a colonoscope through your large intestine to examine the lining. Your doctor will examine the lining again as he or she slowly withdraws the colonoscope. The procedure itself usually takes 15 to 60 minutes, although you should plan on two to three hours for waiting, preparation and recovery. In some cases, the doctor cannot pass the colonoscope through the entire colon to where it meets the small intestine. Although another examination might be needed, your doctor might decide that the limited examination is sufficient.
What happens after a colonoscopy?
Your physician will explain the results of the examination to you, although you’ll probably have to wait for the results of any biopsies performed. If you have been given sedatives during the procedure, someone must drive you home and stay with you. Even if you feel alert after the procedure, your judgment and reflexes could be impaired for the rest of the day. For safety reasons, you can not drive or operate vehicles, dangerous machinery, tools or appliances until the following day. You might have some cramping or bloating because of the air introduced into the colon during the examination. This should disappear quickly when you pass gas. You should be able to eat after the examination, but your doctor might restrict your diet and activities, especially after polypectomy.
- 3 DAYS PRIOR TO THE EXAM: STOP TAKING COUMADIN, WARFARIN, JANTOVEN (unless otherwise instructed)
- DAY OF EXAM: administer half the morning dose of INSULIN at the usual time in the morning of the exam and then administer the second half of the insulin dose with a post-exam meal.
- DAY OF EXAM: oral hypoglycemic agents (medications for diabetes) are withheld until you resume a normal diet.
- Continue ALL other medications.
You will need to have someone to drive you back home after the exam. Be sure to wear comfortable clothing.
Dr. Arturo Bravo is a digestive disease specialist trained in the most advanced endoscopic techniques. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Gastroenterology, the American Board of Transplant Hepatology and the American Board of Internal Medicine. And an Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University College of Medicine in the Department of Medicine. For more information on treatment options, or to schedule a consultation, call us at 281.970.6027.
We are conveniently located within driving distance of Cypress TX, Katy TX, Spring TX, Tomball TX, The Woodlands TX, and Houston TX.