|What is a Colonoscopy?
A Colonoscopy (lower endoscopy) is an examination of the lining of
your large intestine (colon) via insertion of an endoscope (small diameter,
flexible tube) into the anus and through the colon . Abnormalities
suspected by x-ray can be confirmed and others may be detected which are
too small to be seen on x-ray. If the doctor sees a suspicious area,
he can pass an instrument through the endoscope and take a small piece
of tissue (a biopsy) for more thorough examination in the laboratory.
Biopsies are taken for many reasons and do not necessarily imply cancer.
Polyps are abnormal, usually benign, growths of
tissue which vary in size from a tiny dot to several inches. Since
polyps can turn cancerous with time or bleed, they are usually removed
during colonoscopy using a small wire loop or snare.
Do I really need a colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy is a valuable tool for the diagnosis and treatment of many
diseases of the large intestine. It's greatest impact is primarily
in its contribution to the control of colon cancer
by polyp removal. Before colonoscopy became
available, major abdominal surgery was the only way to remove colon polyps
to determine if they were benign or malignant. Now, most polyps can
be removed easily and safely without surgery. Periodic colonoscopy
is a valuable tool for follow-up of patients with previous polyps, colon
cancer, or a family history of colon cancer. It is also used to detect
other chronic diseases of the colon, such as diverticulitis and diverticulosis,
colitis and irritable bowel syndrome.
What preparation is required?
A proper bowel prep is extremely important for this examination.
You make take either the Fleets Phospho-soda Prep,
Loso Prep, or the Visicol
What should I expect during the procedure?
Your doctor will give you medication through a vein to make you relaxed
and sleepy. Please advise Dr. Hasan prior to the procedure if
you are allergic to any medications. While you are lying on your
left side, the endoscope is inserted into the rectum and guided through
the colon. It is necessary to use some air to aid him
in the examination. This may cause you to feel distended and full.
If you have the urge to pass this air, it is permissible unless the doctor
requests otherwise. The large intestine is quite twisted and tortuous.
As the endoscope passes around some of these turns it may cause a cramping
or tugging sensation. This is usually relieved when the instrument
is straightened. The examination usually takes from 15 to 30 minutes
What happens after the test?
You will be kept in the endoscopy area until most of the effects of
the medication have worn off. You will be asked to rest and try to
pass the air which was introduced while examining the colon. Unless
otherwise instructed, you will be able to resume your regular diet after
the colonoscopy. You will be given appropriate discharge instructions
and learning material before you go home. You should make arrangements
in advance to have someone stay at your home with you for the day.
Are there any complications from colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy and polypectomy is safe and is associated with very low
risk when performed by physicians who have been specially trained in endoscopy
procedures. There is some risk to this procedure as there is to any
other invasive procedure. Bleeding may occur from the site of biopsy or
polyp removal. It is usually minimal and stops on its own or can
be controlled by cauterization through the colonoscope. Rarely, transfusions
or surgery may be required. A perforation (tear through the wall
of the bowel) can infrequently occur. This complication usually requires
surgery but may be managed with antibiotics and intravenous fluids in some
cases. Localized irritation of the vein may occur at the site of medication
injection. A tender lump develops which may remain several weeks
to months but goes away eventually. Other risks include drug reactions
and complications from unrelated diseases such as heart attack or stroke.
When will I know what my test showed?
Dr. Hasan will talk to you or the person accompanying your before you
leave the endoscopy department and preliminary results can usually
be given to you at that time. If a biopsy or polypectomy was
done, the results will not be received from the laboratory for 3 to 4 days.