You're approaching 50, and yes, it's time for your first colon cancer screening at Gastro-Intestinal Associates in Lima, OH. You have questions, and your gastroenterologist will be happy to answer them. Before you schedule your appointment, feel free to read answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about this innovative, safe and life-sparing procedure so you are fully informed about your test.
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a procedure which inspects the entire length of the colon, or large intestine. It looks for abnormalities of the colon, such as polyps, cancerous lesions and diverticulosis.
How is the procedure performed?
At Gastro-Intestinal Associates in Lima, OH, the board-certified gastroenterologist uses a thin, flexible and lighted tube to introduce a small camera into the intestine. The camera yields real-time video and still images of pertinent areas of the colon. Because the scope is equipped with special attachments, your physician can take samples of tissue for biopsy and also remove small benign and precancerous lesions known as polyps.
A comfortable test, a colonoscopy requires that the patient be sedated and relaxed. Special medication ensures the patient feels no discomfort and is easily awakened if he or she naps during the procedure. In its entirety, a colonoscopy takes about 45 minutes.
Is there special preparation beforehand?
Yes, there is, and patients report that the "prep" really is the hardest part of a colonoscopy. The day before the examination, the individual has only a clear liquid diet and also must "clean out" his or her bowel with special cathartics (laxatives) and copious amounts of water. A clean large intestine is critical to obtaining clear images of the internal mucosa.
What's the recovery period?
After a colonocopy, the person enters a recovery area to allow the sedation to wear off. This takes about 30 minutes, and the patient may return home. A responsible adult must accompany the individual as no driving is allowed for 24 hours.
When will I get results on my test?
Your gastroenterologist will review findings with you after your procedure when you are in recovery. If the doctor removed tissue for biopsy, you can call the office within a few days for results.
How often do I need a colonoscopy?
Beginning at age 50, most people undergo colonoscopies every 8 to 10 years if their tests reveal no polyps or other issues. If the doctor discovers and removes polyps, and they prove benign, he or she may want the person to have the next test in five years. With Crohn's Disease, or if a patient has a first degree relative with colon cancer, that interval may shorten, or routine screening may begin five to 10 years earlier.
Have peace of mind
That's another great benefit of colonoscopy. If you're approaching that big birthday (50) or if it's time for your next colonoscopy, please contact Gastro-Intestinal Associates to schedule your test. Call (419) 227-8209.