Posted on: 10 January 2023
A colonoscopy is an endoscopic examination that helps doctors identify tissue abnormalities, polyps, swelling, and cancer in the large intestine (colon) and the rectum. The procedure involves the insertion of a flexible tube called a colonoscope into the rectum. A standard colonoscope contains a video recorder at the front end that takes pictures and videos a physician can use to make diagnoses. A colonoscope can also take tissue samples for further analysis in a laboratory. Below are the typical steps to expect during a colonoscopy examination.
Preparation For The Procedure
Preparation for a colonoscopy usually begins a day or so before the procedure. It involves emptying your colon to ensure no obstructions will hinder visibility during the process. As such, your doctor may advise you to avoid solid foods a day before the procedure and instead consume a strict liquid diet. Your doctor can also suggest you take a laxative the night before or the morning of the colonoscopy. It is also advisable to inform your doctor of any medications you take, especially for heart conditions, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Lastly, arrange for transportation back home after the procedure, as you may still experience the side effects of sedation after the process.
Check-In and Meeting Medical Staff
The check-in process is a routine in which you will provide identification information and insurance details and make necessary payments. Next, you will meet a nurse who will help you prepare by providing you with a hospital gown. The nurse will also review your medical history and medication before inserting an intravenous (IV) line into your veins. The IV helps administer a sedative and pain medication directly into the bloodstream. Lastly, you will meet the doctor who will perform the colonoscopy and can answer any questions you might have before the process.
The doctor will require you to lie on your left side with your knees drawn towards your chest then the nurse will administer the medication. The doctor will then gently insert the colonoscope into the rectum and along the length of the colon. The doctor will use the colonoscope to pump air into the colon to improve the visibility of the colon's walls. They will then rely on the image feedback they receive from the colonoscope's camera to find any issues in the colon. The doctor may take a tissue sample or remove polyps on the colon lining if necessary. Altogether, the process can take time depending on the complexities, like the removal of polyps.
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