We use colonoscopy to look for inflammation and abnormalities in your colon, such as precancerous tissue. Our doctors examine the colon using thin, flexible tube with a lighted camera at the tip, called an endoscope that projects magnified high-definition images to a television screen.
When Should I Get a Colonoscopy?
A screening colonoscopy is typically recommended for anyone 50 years of age and older, and for anyone with parents, siblings, or children with a history of colorectal cancer or polyps. If you've had ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease of the colon for many years, you may need a colonoscopy every one or two years.
Your doctor will use this technique to look for precancerous tissue in the colon. He or she may also decide to screen for precancerous lesions using a type of endoscopic procedure called chromoendoscopy.
What Happens During a Colonoscopy?
You will be comfortably sedated during your colonoscopy. You will lie on your left side during the procedure with your knees drawn up toward your chest.
Our doctor will:
- Insert the endoscope through your anus and gently move it to the beginning of the large bowel and into the last part of the small intestine
- Use air or suction to provide a better view or remove fluid or stool
- Typically take tissue samples (biopsy) with tiny forceps inserted through the scope
- Sometimes remove polyps with various instruments that fit though the scope
How to Prepare for a Colonoscopy
Before your procedure, you may need to:
- Take steps for emptying your intestines completely. This may include not eating solid foods for 1 day before the test and taking laxatives.
- Drink plenty of clear liquids (such as strained fruit juices, sports drinks, broth, and water) for 1-3 days before the test.
- Stop taking certain blood-thinning medicines for several days before the test. Keep taking your other medicines unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
- Avoid iron pills or liquids a few days before the test, unless your health care provider tells you it is okay to continue. Iron can make it harder for the doctor to view inside your bowel.