Colonoscopy is a safe and extremely accurate procedure for examining the inner lining of your large intestine to find and treat problems such as polyps. The team at Digestive & Liver Health Specialists often performs a colonoscopy to diagnose the cause of generic symptoms, but they also recommend the procedure as a preventive screening for colon cancer. To schedule a colonoscopy, call one of the offices in Nashville, Hendersonville, or Smyrna, Tennessee, or use the online booking system.
What is a colonoscopy
A colonoscopy is a procedure to diagnose and treat problems inside your rectum and colon (large intestine).
Your doctor at Digestive & Liver Health Specialists performs the procedure using a colonoscope, which is a narrow, flexible tube containing fiber optic lighting and a tiny video camera.
As your doctor gently threads the colonoscope through your rectum and large intestine, the camera provides exceptional views of the intestinal lining.
During a colonoscopy, your doctor can screen for colon cancer and evaluate problems such as inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerations, and diverticulitis.
You may also undergo a colonoscopy to diagnose the cause of symptoms such as bleeding, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain.
What should I know about screening colonoscopies
Though polyps are benign or noncancerous when they first develop, they gradually become abnormal and turn into colon cancer. Fortunately, polyps grow slowly, so you can prevent cancer by having a screening colonoscopy to find and remove polyps before they become cancerous.
You should have your first screening colonoscopy at the age of 45 unless you’re at a high risk for colon cancer. This will require screening at an earlier age.
Your doctor at Digestive & Liver Health Specialists reviews your risks, such as a family history of colon cancer, and determines when you need to consider a screening colonoscopy.
What should I except during a colonoscopy?
The team at Digestive & Liver Health Specialists can only get a good view of your intestinal wall when your colon is clear. That means you need to prepare for your colonoscopy a day or two ahead of time by cleansing your colon.
You receive detailed instructions to follow, but for most patients, colon cleansing includes a regimen of following a liquid diet and taking laxatives.
When you come in for your colonoscopy, you’ll receive medication so you’re not awake during the procedure. Your gastroenterologist guides the colonoscope through the entire large intestine, examining the lining along the way.
Then, your doctor slowly withdraws the scope, treating any problems using specialized instruments inserted through the scope.
For example, your doctor at Digestive & Liver Health Specialists may remove polyps and inflamed tissues, take a biopsy, open an intestinal blockage, or stop bleeding.
Colonoscopies take about 30 minutes, depending on the number of polyps that must be removed. Afterward, you’ll stay in recovery for a short time, then you’ll go home the same day.
If you need to schedule a colonoscopy, call Digestive & Liver Health Specialists or book an appointment online.