Colonoscopy lets the physician look inside your entire large intestine, from the lowest part, the rectum, all the way through the colon to the lower end of the small intestine. The procedure is used to diagnose the causes of unexplained changes in bowel habits, signs of cancer in the colon and rectum, inflammed tissue (colitis), abnormal growths (polyps), ulcer and bleeding.

Your colon must be completely empty for the colonoscopy to be thorough and safe. To prepare for the procedure, you must follow a clear liquid diet and use a laxative solution on the day before the procedure. A clear liquid diet means fat-free bouillon or broth, Jello or Popsicles (any color except red, blue, purple or orange), strained fruit juice, water, plain coffee, plain tea, or soda (any kind). Please see the colonoscopy preparation instructions for complete details.

For the procedure, you will lie on your left side on the examining table. You will be given medication to keep you comfortable and to sedate you during the exam. The physician will insert a long, flexible tube into your rectum and slowly guide it through your colon. The scope also blows some air into your colon, which inflates the colon and helps the physician see better. Most of the air is removed after the examination is finished. The physician can remove polyps, take biopsies of colitis or growth for diagnosis and control bleeding sites if needed.

Colonoscopy takes 30 minutes; however, you will need to plan to be at the hospital or office for 2 hours. The medicine given for sedation should keep you from feeling discomfort during the exam. The majority of patients remember nothing about the procedure. If biopsies were taken or polyps removed during your procedure, we normally receive the results within 7 business days. After your physician has reviewed the report, we will results during the office followup.