To evaluate your colon (“large bowel” or “large intestine”), your doctor may perform colonoscopy. This examination allows your doctor to view the inner lining of the entire colon, as well as remove polyps or growths at the time of examination. (Since polyps can progress to cancer, removal of the polyps may eliminate or dramatically reduce your chance of developing cancer in the future.) Only a small percentage of polyps will become cancerous, but nearly all colon cancers start as a polyp.

After your original office visit (or by mail if you qualify for our Open Access Colonoscopy Program), you will be given instructions on how cleanse the colon with a laxative. You will also be asked to sign a consent form authorizing the doctor to perform the examination. The risks, benefits, and alternatives of the procedure will be reviewed with you by your doctor prior to requesting your consent.

A small sterile catheter will be placed in your arm vein for administration of a sedative. Medicine will be injected through this catheter by a board certified anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist (CRNA), making you sleepy and relaxed. During the procedure, your blood pressure, heart rate, and amount of oxygen in the bloodstream will be monitored.

As you lay on your left side, the doctor will gently insert a thin, flexible tube with a miniature camera into the rectum and advance it around the colon. Air is introduced during the procedure to distend the bowel and allow careful inspection of the surface.
As needed, a biopsy (removal of a tiny bit of tissue) or polypectomy (removal of a polyp) will be performed and the tissue sent to a pathologist for microscopic examination. You will not feel any discomfort when the biopsy or polypectomy is performed.
After the procedure, you will be taken to a recovery area to wake up. Most people have no recollection of the procedure due to the amnesic effects of the medicine they received. The sedating effects of the medicine wear off quickly, but you will not be allowed to drive yourself home, as it would be unsafe. Some patients may feel mild bloating and cramping from the air introduced during the procedure, but it will resolve as you expel the residual air.

Before you leave the endoscopy center, your doctor will discuss the procedure findings with you, and provide further instructions. You may want to have a family member or trusted friend present during this discussion, as the medication you received may make you forgetful. Our nursing staff will provide you with a written copy of the findings and instructions, as well as handouts on appropriate topics. Your primary doctor will also receive a full report of your procedure.

Colonoscopy Preps

For ALL below preps:

One Week Prior to the Procedure
  • DO NOT take iron pills.
  • Your doctor will let you know if you have to stop some medications prior to your procedure. These medications may include: Coumadin, Plavix, or other blood-thinners.
  • You do NOT need to stop Tylenol, aspirin, Advil (or Motrin, Alleve, etc) prior to your procedure.
Day of the Procedure
  • Eat no solid foods.
  • You may have small quantities of clear liquids up to 4 hours prior or your procedure.
  • Take your usual morning medications, especially those for blood pressure. If you are diabetic, wait until after the procedure to take your usual dose of oral medication, when you’ve had a full meal. If you take insulin, we usually recommend one half (½) your usual morning dose before you come to your procedure – if unsure, check with your diabetes doctor.

Spanish Translated Preparations