A colonoscopy is a routine procedure to screen for colon cancer and to diagnose the cause of symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal pain. The board-certified doctors at Peak Gastroenterology Associates have extensive experience performing colonoscopies at their clinics in Colorado Springs, Castle Rock, Salida, Denver, Woodland Park, and Parker, Colorado. If you have questions about colon cancer screenings or you need to schedule a diagnostic colonoscopy, call one of the offices or book an appointment online.
WHAT IS A COLONOSCOPY?
A colonoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor at Peak Gastroenterology Associates to examine the inside of your rectum and colon. To perform this examination, your doctor uses a colonoscope, which is a narrow, flexible tube outfitted with lighting and a video camera.
After inserting the colonoscope through your rectum, your doctor gently advances the scope to the end of your large intestine, and then it’s slowly withdrawn. As the colonoscope travels through the intestine, it sends a magnified view of the intestinal lining to a monitor, allowing your doctor to identify and treat problems.
WHEN SHOULD I GET A COLONOSCOPY SCREENING?
When colon polyps first appear, they’re always benign or noncancerous. Over the years, cells in the polyp may start growing abnormally and turn into cancer. A colonoscopy prevents colon cancer by finding and removing polyps before they become cancerous or while cancer is still confined to the polyp.
Healthy patients with an average risk for developing colon cancer should schedule their first colonoscopy at the age of 45. Your doctor at Peak Gastroenterology Associates may recommend an earlier screening if you have a high risk of developing colon cancer.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT DURING A COLONOSCOPY?
Your colon must be clean for your doctor at Peak Gastroenterology Associates to see the intestinal wall and identify problems. Before your colonoscopy, you’ll receive instructions about how to cleanse your colon, a procedure that typically includes a liquid diet and laxatives.
On the day of your colonoscopy, you’ll receive sedation before your procedure. Some patients sleep, while others stay awake but are very relaxed and comfortable. Your doctor inflates the colon by gently pumping air and sterile water through the scope into the colon, then performs the colonoscopy.
A colonoscopy typically takes 20 to 60 minutes, depending on the number of polyps that need to be removed and any other problems that may need attention. You can go home after the medication wears off, which takes about an hour.