A colonoscopy is a visual tool used for diagnosing and treating diseases of the large intestine. Colonoscopies are considered a safe, relatively simple and highly effective diagnostic technique and research confirms that they are the best tool for early detection of colon cancer as well as removal of all colon polyps. Through the use of colonoscopy, our talented physicians at Southeastern Gastroenterology can detect and remove polyps without major surgery and perform biopsies, which may reveal the early signs of cancer. Periodic colonoscopy is critical in monitoring patients who have had previous polyps, colitis or colon cancer.

What is a Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a safe, effective method of visually examining the colon using a very narrow lighted, flexible fiber optic tube called a colonoscopy. At the end of the tube there is a small camera that helps your physician examine the lining of your digestive tract on a video monitor. This procedure is incredibly accurate and generally well tolerated by patients.

What is an Endoscope?

An endoscope is a flexible tube with a tiny, computer chip at the end. As the physician moves it through the upper gastrointestinal tract, electronic signals are transmitted from the scope to a computer that displays the images on a video screen. An endoscope has an open channel that allows other instruments to be passed through it to take tissue samples, remove polyps and perform other exams

How to Prepare for the Procedure:

Always tell your physician what medications you are taking — especially those that may affect blood clotting — or if you have any medical conditions like diabetes, pregnancy, lung or heart conditions. Also, be sure to share any allergies with your physician. If you typically take antibiotics prior to a dental or surgical procedure, you will need to do the same before a colonoscopy.

Your colon must be completely empty for the procedure to be thorough and safe. There are a variety of preparations but a list of detailed instructions will be provided by our office prior to your procedure.

What to Expect During the Procedure:

Prior to the procedure, you will be given a mild sedative to help you relax. During the procedure, you will lie on your left side of the examining table and the physician will insert the colonoscope into the rectum and gently move it through your colon. There are several tiny instruments in the scope that help your physician during the procedure. These blow air to inflate your colon so your physician can see better; allow your physician to remove polyps or take biopsies; and one that stops any bleeding. The entire procedure typically lasts less than 30 minutes and most people can resume their regular diet later that day.

What to Expect After the Procedure:

Your physician will explain the findings to you. If any biopsies were performed, you will get the results within about one week. You may feel a bit of discomfort following the procedure, similar to the feeling of having gas, but it quickly goes away. Please do not drive or operate machinery for at least 6 hours. On the day of the procedure, you should plan to have someone drive you home. If you have any excessive bleeding, severe abdominal pain, fever or chills, call our office right away.