Colonoscopy: Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is an examination of the colon using a flexible scope. This technique has the ability to diagnose most of the common diseases of the colon and removal of small growths or polyps. A colonoscopy is well-tolerated and rarely causes much pain. Air is used to inflate your colon so that the physician can visualize the inner walls, you sense this as a gas cramp and this is why sedation is used.
Q: What type of Sedation is used?
A Moderate (Conscious) Sedation is used. Moderate sedation is the use of medications to depress the level of consciousness in a patient while allowing the patient to breathe independently and respond appropriately to verbal commands and/or gently stimulation. Most patients sleep through the exam and wake just as the exam is finishing.
Q: What are Polyps?
Polyps are abnormal growths in the colon lining that are usually benign. They vary in size from a tiny dot (the size of a freckle) to several inches. There are 2 main types of polyps: adenomas (pre-cancerous) and hyperplastic (benign, non-cancerous). Your doctor can’t always differentiate between the 2, benign vs precancerous, by its outer appearance, so he/she sends the removed polyps to a pathologist for analysis. Because cancer begins as a polyp, removing them is an important means of preventing colon cancer.
Q: What happens after a Colonoscopy?
The physician will speak with you after the exam and review preliminary results. Biopsies may take up to one week to result from pathology. Sedation will be used during the procedure so someone must drive you home and stay with you. Even if you feel alert after the procedure, your judgment and reflexes will be impaired for the rest of the day. You might have some cramping or bloating because of the air introduced into the colon during the exam. This should disappear quickly when you pass gas. You should be able to resume a normal diet after the exam!!!