Endoscopy In a suite within our surgery department, we are able to perform procedures that examine the digestive system with the use of an endoscopes; a flexible tube with a light and camera attached. Under the care of our anesthesia providers, the endoscope is passed through the body to examine the areas of the digestive tract through the use of a color HD monitor. In addition, your doctor may use an endoscope to remove a polyp or take a biopsy (removal of tissue) to look for the presence of disease.
During an upper endoscopy, an endoscope is easily passed through the mouth and throat and into the esophagus; allowing the doctor to view the esophagus, stomach and upper part of the small intestine.
The purpose of this procedure is to identify:
- Abdominal Pain
- Chest Pain
- Swallowing Disorders
- Nausea and Vomiting
Colonoscopy is a procedure where an endoscope (flexible tube with a light/camera at the end) can be passed into the large intestine (colon) through the rectum to examine this area of the intestine.
In addition to allowing your provider to see the inside of your colon, the flexible tube can help:
- Remove any liquid stool with suction
- Inject air in your colon to open it up; making it easier for the doctor to see
- Clean the lining of your colon with a water spray
- Allow the doctor to work inside your colon with surgical tools
During a colonoscopy, your provider my remove tissue or abnormal growths (polyps) for further examination by a pathologist.
The purpose of the procedure is to:
- Investigate intestinal signs and symptoms. A colonoscopy can help your doctor explore possible causes of abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, chronic constipation, chronic diarrhea and other intestinal problems.
- Screen for colon cancer. If you’re age 45-50 or older and at average risk of colon canceryou have no colon cancer risk factors other than age-your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy every 10 years or sometimes sooner to screen for colon cancer. Colonoscopy is one option for colon cancer screening. Talk with your doctor about your options.
- Look for polyps. If you have had polyps before, your doctor may recommend a followup colonoscopy to look for and remove any additional polyps. This is done to reduce your risk of colon cancer.
Why the need for colonoscopy
Colonoscopy can help your doctor see problems you may have in your colon that may include bleeding, ulcers (open sores), red or swollen tissue, or early signs of cancer. Colonoscopy can also be used as a screening tool for colorectal cancer for those who may not have any symptoms.
It can be used to check and if needed treat:
- Redness and Swelling
- Pouches (diverticula) in the colon wall
- Narrowed areas (strictures) of the colon
- Any objects that might be in the colon
Colonoscopy can also be used to explain causes of long-term (chronic) diarrhea or bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract.
Risks with colonoscopy
Complication can happen with any invasive procedure. Some related to colonoscopy are:
- Continued bleeding after a tissue sample (biopsy) or polyp is removed
- Reaction to pain medication or sedative used during the procedure
- A hole punched through the intestinal wall (rare)
- Nausea, vomiting, bloating or rectal irritation caused by the procedure or the bowel cleansing that is done prior to the procedure
Other risks could occur based on your specific medical history. Be sure to share any concerns with the physician before the procedure.
How to prepare for a colonoscopy
Your physician will explain the procedure to you and will then ask you to sign an informed consent. Make sure you ask any questions you have before signing. You must not eat or drink for a certain time before your procedure. Typically, this will mean no food or drink after midnight the night before your scheduled procedure and a scheduled laxative and only sips of water a couple hours before. You may also be asked to restrict your diet 1-2 days before your procedure as well.
To prevent your procedure from having to be canceled and for your safety, it is crucial that you follow the given instruction on preparing for your procedure. Tell your provider about any medications you take, including any over the counter medications. Also let them know about any history of bleeding disorders you have and if you are taking any blood thinning medication like aspirin, ibuprofen, or others that may affect clotting. Your provider may have you stop taking them before your procedure.
Your provider will provide you with detailed instructions on how to prepare your bowel for the procedure. This could include taking a laxative, an enema or you may have to drink a special liquid that helps clean out your colon.
What happens during a colonoscopy
You may have a colonoscopy as an outpatient or as part of your stay in a hospital. The way the test is done may vary depending on your condition and your healthcare provider’s practices.
Generally, the colonoscopy follows this process:
- You will be asked to remove any jewelry or other objects that might get in the way during the procedure.
- You may be asked to remove your clothing. If so, you will be given a gown to wear.
- An IV (intravenous) line will be inserted in your arm or hand. A sedative or a pain medicine will be injected into the IV.
- You will be given oxygen to breathe in.
- Your heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and oxygen level will be checked during the procedure.
- You will be asked to lie on your left side with your knees pulled up towards your chest.
- A greased (lubricated) tube will be put into your anus and moved into your rectum and colon. You may feel mild pain, pressure, or cramping during the procedure. A sedative is used to reduce your discomfort.
- Depending on the type of anesthesia used, you may be completely asleep during the procedure. If awake, you may be asked to take slow, deep breaths while the tube is being inserted. This helps to relax your abdominal muscles and decrease the discomfort. You may also be asked to change your position to help the tube pass through.
- Air may be injected into your bowel. This may make it easier to see the inside surfaces. A water jet may also be used to clean the lining of your colon. A suction device may be used to remove any liquid stool.
- The provider will check your colon and may take photos. If a polyp is seen, it may be taken out. Or it may be left there until another procedure is done.
- After the procedure is over, the tube will be taken out.
What happens after a colonoscopy
After the procedure, you will go back to the recovery area (the room you started in) to be monitored until you are stable. The nurses will take your vital signs and make sure you are able to eat, drink and urinate before sending you home. Your recovery time will depend on the type, amount and how to respond to the anesthesia you were given. Once you are alert and awake you can eat whatever you feel you can tolerate. While here, we will start you with small sips of water and then provide you with a snack. You may experience some mild gas pain after the procedure – this is normal due to the air that may have been inserted in your bowel during the procedure.
You should not drink alcohol for at least 24 hours. You may be asked to drink extra fluids to make up for the water you lost preparing for your procedure.
Tell your doctor if you have any of the following:
- Fever or chills
- Belly pain or swelling
- Your belly feels full
- Frequent bloody stools (a small amount on the tissue is normal immediately after)
- You are not able to pass gas
To schedule your procedure call 740-380-8140.
Colonoscopy Self Referral
You can do a self-referral if you are age 45-70 who are in generally good health, have no gastrointestinal symptoms, and require a routine colonoscopy (either initial or follow-up colonoscopy after initial screening) for colorectal cancer.