Whenever you hear people talking about Colonoscopy; whether it is to schedule, to go, waiting for results… the word is always surrounded by dread.
Personally, I never quite understood that. You go to see your Gastro Doctor, who is a totally nice and personable healthcare professional with a very understanding staff. You discuss your overall health care and set up the date. So far so good.
The night before you do the prep. The purpose for the prep is that the colon and rectum need to be cleared of any stool residue before the colonoscopy is performed. For you newcomers on the colonoscopy scene, the prep is so much easier and less distasteful than it used to be. In the “old days”, you used to have to chug down what seemed like an entire tanker truck of liquid that didn’t go down easily. The liquid is less volume and a bit more palatable than it used to be.
You arrive on your scheduled day and time, either at the hospital or an outpatient facility. You get all comfy in your hospital gown and bed, watch a little TV while you wait your turn, and wait for the intravenous sedative to start to wooze you. That is generally the last thing you remember.
You wake up in your comfy bed in a recovery room, a little dopey from the remnants of the sedative. You may feel a little bloated or gassy, that is normal. You may need to do things that you would want to say “excuse me” for. You relax there for about an hour until you feel a bit more refreshed and ready to rejoin your normal day. It is best to take it easy and not make any extraordinary plans for the balance of the day.
While you were asleep, the staff was busy. Your doctor inserted a long, flexible, lighted tube called a colonoscope, or scope, into the anus and slowly guides it through the rectum and into the colon. The scope inflates the large intestine with air to give the doctor a better view. A small camera which is mounted on the scope transmits a video image from inside the large intestine to a computer screen, allowing the doctor to carefully examine the intestinal lining. If you are still awake, the doctor may ask you to move periodically so the scope can be adjusted for better viewing. Once the scope has reached the opening to the small intestine, it is slowly withdrawn, and the lining of the large intestine is carefully examined again.
During the procedure, your doctor can remove growths, called polyps, and later test them in a laboratory for signs of cancer. Polyps are common in adults and are usually harmless. Understand that most colorectal cancer begins as a polyp, so removing polyps early is an effective way to prevent cancer. The doctor can also take samples if there are abnormal-looking tissues during colonoscopy. The procedure, called a biopsy, allows the doctor to later look at the tissue with a microscope for signs of disease.
Really not a bad procedure, and you slept through most of it. It is really important for you to do as often as your doctor feels is necessary based on your medical issues and family history. This one routine test can spare you a world of pain if you have issues that are not caught early.
At Monmouth Gastroenterology, you are in good hands with our very well-trained, experienced staff of 6 specially trained Doctors and 2 Nurse Practitioners. You can be at ease, knowing you are getting some of the highest-level care for gastrointestinal, liver disease, and colorectal cancer prevention, detection, and screening in the Monmouth & Ocean County area.