What is a Colonoscopy?

COLONOSCOPY – is an internal exam of the colon (large intestine) using an instrument called a colonoscope.


You must make arrangements for a companion to accompany you and wait for you in the reception area because YOU WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO DRIVE AFTER THE PROCEDURE. Medication is given that may affect your reflexes and judgment for up to 12 hours after the procedure. The procedure can not be done if you do not have arrangements for transportation.

What Happens During the Procedure?

The day before the exam you will be on clear liquids. Your physician will prescribe some type of colon prep to clean your colon out so your physician will have a clear view of your colon. You will not be allowed to have anything to eat or drink after midnight. When you arrive in Special Procedures you will have an IV started, a health history taken and be connected to an EKG monitor. After that you will be taken to a procedure room and be asked to lie on your left side. You will receive sedation for the procedure so you will need someone to drive you home and not be allowed to drive till the following day. During the procedure tissue samples may be taken with tiny biopsy forceps. Polyps may be removed with electrocautery snares or a biopsy forcep. Discomfort is usually minimal.

What Will Happen After the Procedure?

After the procedure you will be taken to the recovery area and once you are awake, stable and taking fluids well you will be allowed to go home with a responsible person. Following the procedure you may feel bloated, pass moderate amounts of gas, experience mild abdominal cramping, pass small amounts of blood from your rectum and be drowsy. You will resume a normal diet when you go home, rest the remainder of the day and resume normal activities the following day.

Are There Complications?

Colonoscopy and polypectomy are safe and associated with very low risk when performed by a physician who has been specially trained and is experienced in the colonoscopy procedure.

Occasionally, localized irritation of the vein may occur at the site of the medication injection. You may use warm water soaks to this area for relief if necessary. If you notice excessive pain, redness or warmth at the injection site, please notify the doctor. Report any fever, abdominal pain or rectal bleeding to the doctor. In the rare event of a medical need during and/or after the procedure, you may require admission to the hospital.

Why is the Colonoscopy Necessary?

Colonoscopy is a valuable tool to:

  • Confirm and study in detail abnormalities suspected by Barium Enema X-rays.
  • Identify the cause of rectal bleeding and changes in bowel habits.
  • Diagnose, treat and follow-up conditions such as polyps and colitis.

Screening tests are used to diagnose a disease early, before you have symptoms. Colon Cancer can be found at an early curable stage and it can also be prevented by finding and removing polyps that might eventually become cancerous. Colonoscopy is also used in evaluating other colon diseases and conditions.

Cancer of the colon is among the most common cancers in the United States. Colon cancer can occur in both men and women and is most often found among people over the age of 50, although it does occur in younger people, and even (rarely) in teens.

The American College of Gastroenterology considers colonoscopy the “gold standard” for colorectal screening because colonoscopy allows physicians to look directly at the entire colon and to identify suspicious growths.

For more information please visit our web site at or call 434/384-1862 and speak with our clinical or scheduling staff.