A colonoscopy is a safe, minimally-invasive procedure that enables a physician to see the inner lining of your rectum and colon. During the procedure, a long, flexible tube with a camera, about the size of a finger is inserted into the anus and through the colon. It is capable of detecting very small lesions or abnormalities (less than 5mm in diameter) and allows the examiner at Piedmont Colorectal Associates to sample suspect tissue for biopsy as well as remove polyps or growths. Still photos are also captured and saved for use in diagnosis for patients near Atlanta.
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When To Get a Colonoscopy
A colonoscopy may be done for a variety of reasons, including:
- Routine check for colon tumors
- Routine check for colon polyps
- Investigate abdominal pain
- Investigate blood in the stool
- Investigate frequent diarrhea
- Routine check up if you have a family history of colon polyps or colon cancer
It is suggested that all people undergo a routine colonoscopy around age 50 and every ten years thereafter to catch polyps before they turn cancerous.
How To Prepare for a Colonoscopy?
Prior to receiving a colonoscopy, the colon must be completely cleaned. The colorectal physician will give patients the following information to prepare for the procedure:
- Stop eating solid foods and drink only clear fluids one to two days before the colonoscopy. Some approved foods and liquids include water, tea, coffee, cleared broths and gelatin.
- The night before the procedure, the patient will take a prescription laxative tablet or solution. The laxative will be mixed with one gallon of water. Patients may choose to drink half the solution the night before and half in the morning depending on the time of the procedure.
- To completely clear out the colon, an enema 30 to 60 minutes before the test may be necessary.
- Drink plenty of fluids while preparing for the procedure to avoid dehydration.
- Stop drinking clear liquids six to eight hours prior to the procedure.
What to Expect During a Colonoscopy?
Prior to the start of the procedure, an IV will be started for sedative and pain medicine which will make the patient feel drowsy and relaxed. A monitor will also be set up to observe vital signs. The patient will then lie on their left side with knees drawn up to their chest. After a short rectal exam to check for blockages, the colonscope is gradually inserted through the anus into the colon. When the end of the scope reaches the start of the small bowel, it will slowly be drawn back through. It is typically is easier to examine the colon as the scope is being withdrawn so this portion of the exam may go slower. During the exam, air may be blown into the colon to improve the camera’s visibility. The entire procedure will last anywhere from 15 minutes to 60 minutes.
Recovery from a Colonoscopy
When our Atlanta patients are fully awake, they will be released from the hospital or office the procedure was performed at. Depending on the amount of anesthesia the patient was given, they might not be able to operate machinery for up to 12 hours. Patients are allowed to eat normal foods and are required to drink a lot of fluids after testing to replace the water that was lost in the colonoscopy preparation process.
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Call to schedule your colonoscopy or to find out more about colonoscopy.