Colonoscopy is a procedure used to diagnose the causes of unexplained changes in bowel habits, blood in the stool, and blood from the rectum. It is also used to look for early signs of cancer in the colon and rectum. A colonoscopy lets the physician look inside the entire large intestine, from the lowest part, the rectum, all the way up through the colon to the lower end of the small intestine. Colonoscopy enables the physician to see inflamed tissue, abnormal growths, ulcers, bleeding and muscle spasms. Sometimes small pieces of tissue will be removed during the procedure , which is called a biopsy. This specimen will be sent to a pathologist for evaluation.

For the colonoscopy, the patient will lie on his or her left side on the examining table. The patient will be given a mild sedative to keep comfortable and to help the patient relax during the procedure. The physician will insert a long, slender, flexible, lighted tube into the patients rectum and slowly guide it into the colon. This tube is called a colonoscope. The colonoscope transits an image of the inside of the colon to a screen allowing cafeful examination of the lining of the colon. The colonoscope bends, allowing it to maneuver around the curves of the colon. The patient may be asked to change position occasionally to assist the physician during the procedure. The colonoscope can also blow air, which inflates the colon better assist in viewing the colon. This procedure usually lasts about 20-30 minutes and rarely requires a hospital stay.

If anything unusual is seen in the colon, such as a polyp, the physician can remove a piece of it using tiny instruments passed through the colonoscope. Polyps are small growths on the lining of the colon and can be signs of cancer or future cancers. This removed tissue is called a biopsy, and is sent to pathology for further testing. Once a biopsy is done, the physician usually removes the polyp through the colonoscope.

A colonoscopy provides the physician with information that other tests, including fecal occult blood tests, barium enema and sigmoidoscopy, may be unable to provide. This is a safe procedure and complications are rare. Most patients have no difficulty and tolerate the procedure well. However, sometimes fatigue is common, plan on relaxing and resting the remainder of the day. The patient will not be allowed to drive home, due to the fact a sedative was given.

Surgical Associates of Palm Beach County / Boca Care (SAPBC) is a multi-specialty surgical group practice with expertise in General, Breast, Vascular, Endovascular, Thoracic, Colon Rectal, and Surgical Oncology. Our office is located in Boca Raton Florida.

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