Colonoscopy is the examination of the large intestine (colon) by inserting a thin, flexible tube, called colonoscope which has a video camera in it. This examination allows Dr. Kethu to find any abnormalities such as polyps, cancer, diverticulosis, etc.
Colonoscopy is recommended for anyone about age 50 to screen for colon polyps and colon cancer even if you don’t have any symptoms or family history of colon cancer. It is also recommended for anyone, regardless of their age, if they have symptoms such as bleeding, abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea, weight loss, etc.
Our office will give you detailed instructions on how to prepare for colonoscopy. Generally, you will be on a clear liquid diet on the day before the procedure and you will be instructed to take a special type of laxatives to flush your colon. This is very important because it will let Dr. Kethu examine your colon thoroughly.
Dr. Kethu may ask you to stop some medications temporarily, particularly aspirin products, or blood thinners, insulin or iron products.
You will be given sedation to perform this procedure comfortably without any pain or discomfort. While you are asleep, a colonoscope is passed in to your colon to look for abnormalities such as polyps, cancer, etc. If there are any polyps, those will be removed during the colonoscopy. Sometimes biopsy samples are taken for further testing.
Polyps are abnormal growths in the lining of the colon and most of them are benign. Some of these may be precancerous. So, all the polyps will be removed during colonoscopy as this is important in preventing colon cancer.
Depending on the size of the polyps, Dr. Kethu uses instruments like biopsy forceps where small polyps can be plucked out or remove them with wire loops called snare. Sometimes electric current is used to cauterize to prevent excessive bleeding.
You will be monitored closely until most of the effects of the medications have worn off. You cannot drive yourself to home after the procedure. You need someone to pick you up. You can resume most of the normal activities after the procedure. You can resume normal food intake unless instructed otherwise.
Colonoscopy is generally a safe procedure. Like any medical procedure, complications can happen although very rare. Bleeding can occur at the biopsy site or when polyp is removed. Perforation (whole or tear in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract) sometimes may require surgery. Some patients may have breathing or heart problems secondary to sedation.