What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy allows us to examine the lining of the entire large intestine and often par of the small intestine, called the terminal ileum. This examination is performed by inserting a flexible tube, about the thickness of your finger, into the anus and slowly advancing the tube into the end of the large intestine, called the cecum.
What preparation is required?
In general, preparation consists of special laxatives, as well as dietary modification. There are several new formulations of colon prep with improved taste and decreased volume. It is important to follow the instructions from Emerald Coast Gastroenterology carefully.
Should I continue my current medications?
Most medications can be continued as usual. Inform us about any medications you are taking – particularly aspirin products and other antiplatelet therapy or anticoagulants (blood thinners) – as well as any allergies you have to medication. Also tell us if you take diabetic medication, because their dose will require modification a day before and the day of the procedure.
A colonoscopy is usually well tolerated. You will be sedated, so the procedure is painless. You will lie on your side while the colonoscope is advanced through the rectum and colon. As the instrument is withdrawn, the entire colon will be carefully examined.
What if the colonscopy finds something abnormal?
If the area of the large intestine requires further evaluation, a biopsy will be taken. (A biopsy is a sample of the colon lining.) Biopsies are used to identify many conditions, and might be ordered even if cancer is not suspected.
During the colonoscopy, polyps will be removed. The polyps will be sent for microscopic examination. Polyps, known as hyperplastic, are considered to be benign and, in some instances, might not require removal. Polyps known as adenomas are precancerous. That means over a period of time they convert to cancer. Findings during a colonoscopy, and their significance, will be discussed with you in detail by Dr. Klin.
What happens after a colonoscopy?
You may feel bloated or have some mild cramping, because air was passed into the colon during the examination. This will disappear quickly when you pass gas. You should be able to eat and resume your normal activities after leaving the surgical center or hospital.
What are possible complications of a colonoscopy?
Colonoscopies, biopsies, and polypectomies are safe when performed by a gastroenterologist who is specially trained and experienced in this procedure. Complications are rare, but it is important for you to recognize the early signs of possible complications. Contact your physician if you experience severe abdominal pain, fever and chills, or rectal bleeding of more than 1 ½ cup. Note that rectal bleeding can occur several days after a biopsy.
Source: AMA Complete Encyclopedia, Copyright 2003, American Medical Association
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