3 April, 2024

What Happens During A Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a medical test that is recommended for adults age 45 and older that allows doctors to examine the large intestine and rectum for any abnormal changes. It is one of the best ways to screen for colorectal cancer for early intervention as well as for other gastrointestinal conditions.

During the procedure, doctors check the entire colon and rectum for precancerous growths known as polyps and any signs of abnormal tissue. If needed, biopsy samples can be taken during the colonoscopy, and polyps can be removed and sent to a lab for further investigation.

Today, we are going to provide an overview of what happens during a colonoscopy, why it is performed, and what types of conditions it can diagnose.

What Does A Colonoscopy Show?

The tiny camera on the scope allows the doctor to visualize polyps, tumors, ulcers, inflammation, and other abnormalities that are signs of cancer or other conditions. Doctors use colonoscopies for prevention, ongoing surveillance, or to locate the source of symptoms such as chronic belly pain, rectal bleeding, ongoing constipation or diarrhea, unexplained weight loss, and more.

The procedure helps with diagnosing precancerous cells, colorectal cancer, and conditions like inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, etc.

What Happens During A Colonoscopy?

There is some preparation required before you can undergo a colonoscopy to ensure that the doctor can get a clear view of the areas being examined. Your doctor will provide you with instructions on what you need to do before your procedure.

  • Immediately before the procedure, the patient will put on a medical gown and be given some type of sedation, so they will be relaxed and comfortable during the procedure. Usually, this is done intravenously; however, the type may vary depending on the patient’s wishes and the doctor’s recommendation;
  • The patient is asked to lay on their side, and the doctor inserts a long, flexible tube called a colonoscope into the rectum and carefully advances it through the colon. The colonoscope has a light and camera on one end that projects a live video to a monitor and allows the doctor to see the inside of the patient’s colon as they perform the procedure;
  • The doctor slowly leads the colonoscope through the colon and examines the lining for anything that looks abnormal, such as polyps, ulcers, inflammation, or signs of disease. If any suspicious areas are found, the doctor will take some samples (biopsies) for further analysis;
  • Any polyps or abnormal growths that are found will be removed using a special medical device that is lowered down through the colonoscope;
  • Once the doctor has completed the examination, the colonoscope is slowly withdrawn, and the doctor re-inspects the entirety of the colon’s lining;
  • After the procedure, the patient remains under observation in a recovery area until most of the effects of the sedation have worn off;
  • The doctor will talk to the patient about their initial findings during the procedure, but the results of any samples taken may take a week or two to become available;
  • The patient will still be groggy and must be released into the care of a friend or family member who can drive them home. The doctor will provide them with any necessary post-procedure instructions; however, they will need to spend the rest of the day at home resting and will not be able to drive or go to work until the following day.

How Long Does A Colonoscopy Take?

Typically, a colonoscopy takes between 30 minutes and an hour, depending on what type of examination is being done. Patients should allow ample time for sedation and recovery, as well as the procedure itself. Your doctor will provide you with an accurate timeline of how long your procedure is expected to take from start to finish so that you can plan accordingly.

If you are over 45 years old or have a family history of colon cancer, contact Simmons MD Advanced Weight Loss Solutions and schedule a colonoscopy today.

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