The colon, which is the large intestine, is a key part of the digestive system. Its function is to remove water, salt, and nutrients from partially digested food, and to prepare waste for elimination.
Your risk of developing colon issues increases with age, and it is now recommended that you have your first colonoscopy at age 45. If you have colon cancer or rectal cancer in your family (grandparent, parent, sibling, or child), then your doctor may recommend that you have your first colonoscopy even earlier.
A colonoscopy is unique in that it not only screens for colon cancer but any polyps that are discovered will be removed immediately – so it is also preventive. Polyps can be precancerous, so removal can actually prevent colon cancer from developing.
While many doctors can perform a colonoscopy, gastroenterologists – who specialize in diagnosing and treating issues of the digestive system – are the most adept, and they perform the greatest number of colonoscopies. Let’s talk about why it is in your best interest to choose a gastroenterologist for this procedure, and where you can go in Greater Austin for the most efficient and effective colonoscopy with trustworthy results.
What Is a Colonoscopy?
Polyps and colon cancer are detected in a colonoscopy via a long, thin, flexible instrument with a light and camera functionality at the end. The doctor removes any polyps that are found during a colonoscopy, and each polyp is measured and analyzed. Large polyps can indicate precancerous tissue.
However, studies have shown that there are greater risks of complications and inadequately removed polyps when this is performed by a doctor who does not specialize in gastroenterology.
Why Choose a Gastroenterologist for Your Colonoscopy?
A gastroenterologist has not only completed years of specialized training in gastroenterology, but they have also performed many, many colonoscopies. This has been their focus during their residency and also possibly during continued training in a fellowship. Indeed, some gastroenterologists only perform colonoscopies, because this is such a sought-after and life-saving procedure.
A doctor should have considerable training and significant experience in carrying out a successful colonoscopy. Even with the most cutting-edge tools and technology, a relatively inexperienced physician can fail to correctly identify signs of disease of the colon. It is very common for non-gastroenterologist doctors to miss advanced-stage colon cancer.
In addition to detecting and removing cancerous tissue and polyps, the physician will have to safely obtain tissue samples for biopsy as necessary. In patients whose colonoscopies were not performed by a gastroenterologist, this causes a higher percentage of complications – namely, bleeding and perforation of the colon.
Colonoscopy in Austin, TX
If you are looking for an experienced gastroenterologist in Austin, choose one of our board-certified and fellowship-trained specialists at Austin Gastroenterology – the largest GI physician group in Central Texas.
Our doctors specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of gastrointestinal diseases, and we are committed to providing superior, compassionate patient-centric care. For your convenience, we have many locations across Central Texas in which to serve you.
To schedule an appointment with one of our GI doctors, call our clinic nearest you or use our convenient appointment request form online now. We look forward to being your choice for your colonoscopy!