If you are scheduled to have a colonoscopy, please take the time to follow the colonoscopy preparation procedure as prescribed by your doctor. Following a preparatory diet and plan will help ensure that the procedure is accurate and comprehensive, as well as a comfortable experience for you.
How it Works
Colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure that typically takes less than 45 minutes, although you should plan on being at the hospital for two to three hours for wait time, preparation and recovery. Colonoscopies are relatively painless, and may only cause you to feel light cramping, pressure or bloating.
During the procedure:
- You will be given a mild sedative or painkiller to help you relax and to minimize any discomfort. You will lie on your side or back.
- Your gastroenterologist will insert a thin, flexible tube and advance it into your rectum and colon. The colonoscope device will allow your doctor to see images of the inside lining and determine whether there are abnormalities (polyps).
- Polyps are non-cancerous growths that appear in the colon lining. They are common in older adults, but the cause for their growth is unclear. A predisposition to polyp formation might be a high-fat, low-fiber diet, or there could be inherited risk.
- If polyps are found during your colonoscopy, the doctor will remove them right away. This is important, because cancer often begins in the polyps. You will not feel any pain during the polyp resection.
- The doctor might also decide to take a biopsy (sample of lining) to analyze in order to better diagnose the condition or disease affecting you.
- In some cases, your doctor might not be able to pass the scope through your entire colon where it meets the small intestine. You doctor will advise you to receive additional testing when necessary.
After the Procedure
You will be monitored until the sedatives or medications have worn off. Then your doctor will explain the results of the colonoscopy to you, with the exception of biopsy results, which could take a few days or more. If you were given sedatives, someone must drive you home and stay with you, because they can alter your reaction time and judgment. You may eat after the exam, but some foods and activities might be restricted.
The experts at the Digestive Disease Center at UPMC Susquehanna are here to help you find comfort and treatment for a colonoscopy in Williamsport, PA and the surrounding areas. If you have any questions pre- or post-procedure, don’t hesitate to contact us.