What Is a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a minimally invasive test that is used to discover abnormal growths and disease conditions in the anus, rectum, large intestine, or colon. Done on an outpatient basis, a colonoscopy is an effective tool in screening patients for a variety of GI problems, including colorectal cancer. This malignancy is the third most deadly form of cancer in the United States today according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Why Do I Need a Colonoscopy?
If you are age 50 or older, your chances of developing cancer from benign polyps, or adenomas, in the large intestine increases. Other factors, such as family history, diet, and other lifestyle elements, increase your risk.
Fortunately, routine colonoscopy exams have a high adenoma detection rate (ADR), which allows doctors to catch the disease early when treatment is most effective. In fact, our gastroenterologists in Austin, TX have very high adenoma detection rates and exceptionally low rates of procedural complications.
What Is the Procedure Like?
While you are lightly sedated and your vital signs are fully monitored, your gastroenterologist will position you on your left side. Using a thin, lighted tube, the doctor will pass a camera scope into the rectum.
As the scope moves painlessly through the length of your large intestine, the doctor will take real-time videos and still images of the colon lining. If any polyps are detected, the doctor will remove them for biopsy.
During your procedure, you may actually fall asleep. Or, you may experience mild feelings of gas, pressure, and bloating. These feelings will resolve quickly.
In all, the colonoscopy takes about 30 to 60 minutes to complete. Afterward, you will stay in the recovery room until you are fully awake and can urinate. Then, your accompanying adult can drive you home to rest for the balance of the day.
How Do I Prepare for a Colonoscopy?
Most patients who undergo colonoscopy feel the procedure itself is quick and easy to tolerate. In fact, most patients feel the pre-procedure preparation is the most complicated part. However, it is also well-tolerated when directions are followed, and very important to the success of the colonoscopy.
That’s why our gastroenterologists provide online instructions on how to prepare for your colonoscopy. Your doctor will inform you as to which laxative you are to use. They will also give you additional instructions in the form of a handout if you are diabetic or have any other serious chronic health condition.
Here are some guidelines regarding your preparation.
Seven Days Before Your Colonoscopy
Please discontinue any vitamins or herbal supplements, including ones containing iron. Stop added fiber in any form, including pills and drinks. Ask your gastroenterologist about continuing your aspirin, Plavix, or other prescription blood thinners.
Finally, be sure to arrange for a ride after the procedure. Your adult companion must accompany you at the start of your procedure and stay throughout it until your release home from our facility.
Three Days Before
Begin a low-fiber diet. That means no nuts, fibrous vegetables, such as celery, and whole-grain breads. Eat custards, rice, soups, and other easily digestible foods. Avoid anything with purple or red dyes.
Two Days Before
Continue with the low-fiber diet, and be sure to consume at least four 8-ounce glasses of water. Eat NO solid foods after midnight.
One Day Before
Consume a clear-liquid-only diet consisting of broth, gelatin, and juice. Avoid all red and purple dyes, as well as carbonated beverages. Drink at least four 8-ounces glasses of water throughout the day.
Begin your laxative preparation. Your physician will tell you which product you are to use. The most common is Miralax. Follow the instructions provided by your doctor on mixing and when to take each dose.
Day of Procedure
Eat and drink NOTHING four hours before your colonoscopy. Your doctor will instruct you on how to take essential oral medications and insulin.
Please arrive at your scheduled time with the adult companion who will drive you home. Also, bring your insurance card and any co-pay due.
Be Prepared, and Be Screened
At Austin Gastroenterology in Central Texas, our staff of 37 board-certified specialists use the latest in diagnostics and treatment techniques to ensure your best digestive health. We encourage you to schedule your colonoscopy today. We have numerous locations to serve you.