Generally speaking a colonoscopy is a very safe and effective procedure for reducing the likelihood of colon cancer, while also being a very useful tool in diagnosing a wide variety of medical conditions involving the lower intestines.
Checking In to the Hospital or Endoscopy Center:
On the day of the procedure, patients should arrive 1.5 hours before their scheduled appointment time. Most centers want to meet your driver at the time of check in to confirm that patients will have a ride home. Health centers often cancel your procedure, if the person giving the patient a ride home is not present. After your check In at the procedure center, you will be escorted to a pre-operative room and meet the nurses, anesthesia, and physician team performing the procedure. An IV will usually be placed in the hand or arm. After you have been examined, and if no unusual problems are identified, you will be asked to consent to the procedure. This is a good time to ask any additional questions and review the risk and benefits of the colonoscopy.
Prior to the Procedure:
After signing consent forms, you will be transported to the procedure room. Once in the procedure room, typically patients are placed on their left side and when comfortable, IV sedation is given. Most centers are using Propofol as their sedation drug of choice. Patients can expect to be asleep through their entire exam.
While the patient is asleep, the physician will place the flexible colonoscope into the lower colon thru the rectum and carefully advance the scope until reaching the small intestines. Our landmark is the cecum and terminal ileum. Once we have reached these locations, the scope will be slowly withdrawn and mild insufflation of air and water rinse are used to improve the view of the colon lining. As the colonoscope is withdrawn through the colon, we carefully evaluating for any evidence of polyp, cancer, diverticulosis, inflammation or any other visible abnormality. It is very common to obtain biopsies or remove a polyp during the procedure. Lastly, a careful inspection of the rectum is performed to evaluate for internal and external hemorrhoids. The endoscope is removed and the patient is taken to the recovery area for further monitoring. Most colonoscopies take no longer than 30 minutes in total.
After completing the colonoscopy, patients are taken to a recovery room and monitored by the nursing staff. Most patients wake up fairly quickly and after approximately 30 minutes, and will be discharged from the center. Before discharge, the doctor will give a brief review of the procedure findings and a plan for follow up.
Diet After Procedure:
We recommend going slow with food following the colonoscopy procedure. We recommend that patient’s do not eat until they are sure their system is ready. A liquid diet would be best, for example: soup, shakes and/or smoothies, being careful to avoid rich, heavy foods. As the day progresses and if you are not feeling any pain, nausea, or discomfort, you may return to eating a normal diet.