First-Timer? The Scoop On The Colonoscopy Procedure

Health & Medical Blog

Do you need to schedule a colonoscopy procedure? You're a first-timer and have questions about colonoscopies, the steps of the procedure, and what to expect from the prep. Put your mind at ease, go into the test as a well-informed patient, and take a look at what you need to know about a colon inspection procedure.

What Is A Colonoscopy?

As the name implies, a colonoscopy is an -oscopy (or viewing procedure) of the colon (the long part of the body's large intestine). This type of test requires the use of a flexible scope to see inside of the colon. A colon inspection can help to detect precancerous polyps or cancer or confirm/rule out some types of intestinal diseases or chronic conditions. 

Along with viewing the colon, this procedure also may include a biopsy. If the doctor sees a polyp (a small growth on the lining of the intestine) or abnormal tissue, they can remove the area. The doctor will then send the biopsied polyp or tissue to a lab for further inspection before making a diagnosis.

Does Everyone Need A Colonoscopy?

Yes, at some point everyone will need this procedure. But this doesn't mean that everyone needs a colonoscopy right now. The American Cancer Society recommends that adults at average risk for colon cancer get their first screening at 45-years. If you have a higher risk level for colorectal cancers (such as a family or personal history), it's likely that you will need your first colonoscopy before you turn 45. 

What Happens During A Colonoscopy?

To make this procedure as comfortable as possible, the doctor will give you a sedative. Unlike invasive surgeries, you won't need general anesthesia. Instead, the sedative will allow you to rest–but give you the ability to wake up if the doctor needs you to follow their instructions or move. 

After you are resting, the doctor will gently insert a flexible scope through the rectum and into the colon. This scope has a tube to pump air/carbon dioxide into the colon. The air/carbon dioxide inflates the intestine and makes it easier for the doctor to see the lining and any potential abnormalities. The scope also contains a light and camera. As the doctor threads the scope through your colon, the camera projects a picture of your intestine onto a screen in the procedure room. 

How Do You Prepare for This Procedure?

The doctor will give you prep instructions. These will include what not to eat in the weeks or days leading up to the colonoscopy, when to stop eating solid foods, what medications you can and can't take, and how to clean out your colon. You will need to take a laxative medication or a special cleansing drink before the procedure. Follow the instructions exactly. Failure to properly cleanse the colon may result in the need for a repeat screening. 

For more information on a colonoscopy procedure, contact a professional near you.


25 April 2022

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