Tuesday, June 1, 2010

WHAT CAN BE EXPECTED DURING THE COLONOSCOPY?

Colonoscopy is usually well tolerated. There may be a feeling of pressure or bloating during the procedure. Your doctor will give you a medication through a vein which will put you to sleep and you will not feel or remember anything. You will be lying on your left side, or on your back, while the colonoscope is advanced slowly through the large intestine. As the colonoscope is slowly withdrawn, the lining is again carefully examined.

The procedure usually takes between 15 and 30 minutes. In some cases, passage of the colonoscope through the entire colon to its junction with the small intestine cannot be achieved. The doctor will decide if the limited examination is sufficient or if other examinations are necessary.

WHAT IF THE COLONOSCOPY SHOWS SOMETHING ABNORMAL?

If your doctor thinks that an area of the bowel needs to be evaluated in greater detail, a biopsy (tissue sample of the colon lining) may be taken using tiny forceps. These specimens are submitted to the pathology laboratory for analysis. If colonoscopy is being performed to identify sites of bleeding, the areas of bleeding may be controlled through the colonoscope by injecting certain medications. If polyps are found, they are generally removed. Remember, biopsies are taken for many reasons and do not necessarily mean the cancer is suspected.

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