What is a colonoscopy?
-A Colonoscopy is a very common and safe procedure that allows us to view the mucosal lining of the lower intestinal tract otherwise known as the colon or large intestine, rectum and anal canal. When Dr. Aviles and Dr. Tenembaum perform colonoscopies for cancer prevention, they look for growths called polyps and remove them before they turn into pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions. This is a key reason colonoscopy is an invaluable tool that helps people live longer and healthier. Other common reasons for a colonoscopy is to evaluate for pain, diarrhea, blood in the stool, abnormal findings on labs and imaging as well as detect inflamed tissue, tumors, ulcers and workup for anemia and unexplained weight loss.
Who gets a colonoscopy?
-The American Cancer Society recommend that all average risk men and women start getting a screening colonoscopy at age 45 with follow up screening tests done every 10 years. Shorter intervals may be recommended depending on findings.
How is a colonoscopy performed?
-The procedure is performed using a colonoscope which is a long thin flexible tube with a light and a tiny video camera attached to the end which transmits the image to a monitor. It is then inserted into the anus, through the rectum and colon and advanced to the cecum and small bowel. Special instruments can be passed through the tube for biopsies or to remove suspicious lesions.
-Before the procedure begins you will be given a fast active sedative through an IV. Once you are asleep the procedure will begin. The time from start to finish is around 15-25 minutes, depending on the findings. During the entire procedure, you will feel no pain or discomfort.
-After the colonoscopy, you will be taken to out recovery area and will be monitored as the sedative begins to wear off. During this period, you may feel slightly groggy and mild abdominal bloating which will go away on its own after a very short period of time. When you receive the results will depend on your situation, it is likely you will have to wait a few days for tissue findings to return as this process takes our pathologist and laboratory 5-7 days.