A colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that allows your doctor to visually examine the inside of the colon for closer inspection of irregularities.
This is accomplished by inserting a tube with a camera on the end into the anus and through the colon. The images from the camera are viewed either through the instrument or on a display monitor.
The colon must be completely clean to achieve accurate results from a colonoscopy. Patients will usually be given a special cleansing solution to drink before the exam, or may be asked to consume only a clear liquid diet with laxatives or enemas. Most medications can still be taken, although some such as aspirin or blood thinners may require special instructions. Dr. Kim will instruct you on how to prepare.
Before the colonoscopy procedure, an intravenous, or IV, with a light sedative will be used to make the patient comfortable. Vital signs will be monitored throughout the procedure. The patient will lie on their left side as the colonoscope is inserted into the anus and guided to the opening of the small intestine. The colonoscope is then slowly withdrawn from the colon and the lining of the colon is examined carefully by the physician. The removal of polyps, or growths, for biopsy may also be conducted during the procedure. The colonoscopy procedure usually takes between 30-60 minutes to perform.
After the procedure, patients will be kept under observation for up to 2 hours, until the sedative used for the procedure wears off. Reflexes and judgment may be impaired and driving is not permitted for 24 hours after the procedure. Some people may experience pressure, bloating and cramping in the abdomen after the procedure, but these effects are temporary.
Complications of a colonoscopy are rare. If they do occur, complications can include fever, abdominal pain, dizziness, bleeding from a biopsy site, perforation of the bowel wall or a reaction to the medication used in the IV.