A colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure performed under mild anesthesia where an endoscope, or thin, flexible, tube with a camera and light attached to the end of it, is passed through your anus and rectum, into your entire large intestine (or colon).
Images of the colon are displayed on a monitor while the scope is navigated through your large intestine. If any polyps are discovered, these can be removed and biopsies can be taken of any suspicious tissue.
The procedure is routinely performed and typically takes less than 45 minutes to complete. It is an ideal screening test for colorectal cancer, because it allows for both the detection and removal of colon polyps all at once. Risks associated with the procedure include missed lesions, bleeding, a reaction to the medication or anesthesia that is given to you, splenic injury, and GI perforation.
Where is the procedure performed?
The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis at either our Somerset Ambulatory Surgical Center in Hillsborough or at the Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington based on your preference and your insurance coverage (click here for a link to directions to these facilities).
Will I be sleeping during the procedure?
For your safety and comfort, we use MAC sedation, where board certified anesthesiologists monitor you before, during, and after your procedure.
MAC sedation provides safe and effective conscious sedation, anxiety control, and pain control. It carries fewer side effects with it, and has a quicker recovery period than general anesthesia.
Should you choose not to use MAC sedation, as a board-certified gastroenterologist Dr. Sinha is fully qualified to provide alternative forms of conscious sedation for you. Other forms of sedation can have more side effects associated with them and carry a longer period of recovery.
We understand that not all patients have the same medical needs, requirements, and/or desires, which is why we offer comprehensive personalized care with your safety and comfort being our utmost priority.
We encourage you to discuss all of your options for care with us at your initial consultation, and with your board-certified anesthesiologist prior to your procedure.
Is the procedure painful?
In order to ensure you are both comfortable and safe during the procedure, we use MAC anesthesia administered by board certified anesthesiologist. Additionally, we use carbon dioxide (or CO2) instead of air to inflate your colon at our Somerset Ambulatory Surgical Center.
During colonoscopy, either CO2 or air is used to inflate the colon so that Dr. Sinha can visualize your colon thoroughly and navigate her scope.
Many patients experience pain or discomfort after colonoscopy as a result of inflated gas retained in the colon.
Using CO2 instead of air reduces the amount of gas retained, resulting in less pain and discomfort for you, less embarrassing gas, and improved satisfaction.
I’ve been told the bowel prep is the worst part…why? And how important is the bowel prep actually?
In the days leading up to your colonoscopy you will be instructed to modify your diet to avoid foods that are slow to digest, to initiate a clear liquid diet for 24 hours prior to your procedure, and to take a “bowel prep” to flush out the contents of your colon so that Dr. Sinha can view the entire lining of your colon clearly, allowing her to identify any abnormalities in the wall of the colon including polyps, ulcerations, masses, or other abnormalities.
If your colon is not effectively cleaned out, lesions and polyps can be obscured or masked by stool or sludge, and missed. Therefore, following your bowel prep instructions is crucial.
If you have any confusion about how or when to start your prep, please do not hesitate to call our office.
Please notify our office if you have any history of constipation or slowed digestion at your initial consultation. Sometimes individuals may require an extended bowel prep to help ensure that the colon is effectively cleaned out prior to colonoscopy.
Why do I have to have an initial office consultation prior to the procedure?
Screening colonoscopy is NOT appropriate for everyone. At your initial consultation we review your medical history and determine what screening procedures are most appropriate for you.
During this visit we take a complete past medical history to help determine if anesthesia is a safe option for you.
Please come prepared with a list of all of your current medications, allergies, past surgical history and family history.
Different screening recommendations may be made if you have a family history of colon cancer.
If you have a history of multiple abdominal surgeries or adhesions, we may recommend that a pediatric sized scope be used for your procedure.
At the initial consultation all of these details will be discussed and sorted through.
Please notify our office of all of your medical conditions prior to your procedure, including, but not limited to: prior surgeries, high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, personal history of heart attack or stroke, cancer, lung disease, kidney disease, liver disease, thyroid disease, infectious disease, valvular heart disease, irregular heartbeat, atrial fibrillation, blood clot, if you have a pacemaker or other electro-medical devices, if you are taking any over-the-counter, herbal or prescription medications, if you are taking any anti-inflammatory medications, NSAIDs, Aspirin, fish oil, Vitamin E, iron supplementation, or other blood thinners, and if you are undergoing treatment for any other medical condition at this time.
Why do I have to have a follow-up appointment in your office after my procedure?
…So that we can go over your results and pathology findings and discuss recommended surveillance guidelines based on results.
As well, we emphasize comprehensive care at our practice: at your follow-up visit we encourage you to bring up any other GI-related concerns you might have with our medical team.