A colonoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to examine the lining of your colon for abnormalities. The doctor inserts a flexible tube, or scope, into the anus and passes it through your colon to see if there are any problems such as inflammation or polyps (growths).
Sometimes the doctor takes a tiny tissue sample, called a biopsy, by passing a small instrument through the scope. The sample is then sent to the laboratory for analysis. Your doctor can also remove polyps using the same painless technique.
During the procedure, you might feel some pressure, bloating, or cramping, but it is not usually painful. You will be given moderate sedation through an intravenous line (IV). The procedure itself takes 25-30 minutes, although you should plan on at least two hours for registration, preparation, procedure, and recovery. Our main goal is safety and comfort before, during, and after your procedure.
During your procedure, you will lie on your left side with your knees slightly bent. Your doctor will give you medication through the intravenous (IV) line. You will be given oxygen through a nasal tube. A device will be placed on your finger to monitor your oxygen levels and electrodes will be placed on your chest to monitor your heart.
The doctor may inflate the colon slightly with air, to get a better view. If there are any abnormalities found, your doctor may take a biopsy to send to the laboratory. When the procedure is finished, the scope is gently removed and you are transferred to the recovery room.
The intravenous access is essential to safely administer the sedation for your procedure. Our nurses are highly skilled and extremely compassionate. Let us know beforehand and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.
We are mandated by the state of Connecticut to inquire about any advanced directives that may exist in your health plan and to offer information if you do not have one. Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders are not honored in our setting, as these are routinely suspended any time you receive sedation or anesthesia. Also, this procedure is not being done as an end-of-life treatment, therefore a Do Not Resuscitate order is not acknowledged.
We do ask our patients to bring a copy of any advanced directives so we may include them in your record. These remain on file and should the rare emergency occur, the hospital that you are transferred to would be notified and a copy provided.
On the rare occasion there is an emergency, you will be stabilized by our nurses and physicians and transferred to the nearest hospital. All of our doctors and nurses are trained and certified in advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), and we have the same emergency provisions found at the hospital.
To reduce the chances of an emergency occurring, we obtain a comprehensive health history prior to your procedure to ensure you meet criteria for an outpatient setting.
Propofol, a short-acting anesthetic agent, is administered and monitored by a licensed anesthesia provider. In some cases, due to allergy or insurance coverage, a combination of a narcotic pain reliever and a benzodiazepine sedative, similar to valium, is used. Both are extremely safe and effective for procedures of short duration.
No! You will receive medications to sedate you for your procedure to make it as comfortable as possible. These are short acting but their effects may linger for a few hours, making it unsafe for you to drive. Your health is just as important to us behind the wheel as it is in the endoscopy unit.
By the next day you will be able to return to your normal activities, including driving. If a ride is unavailable to you, you may use a medical cab/taxi, but not a regular yellow taxi, as they do not take on responsibility for you in case of an emergency.
You may remain lightheaded, dizzy, sleepy, and/or forgetful for several hours. Although most people state they feel fine, for your safety, someone should stay with you because of the potential risk of injury.
One of our nurses will instruct you regarding your routine medications and when to take them. If you are currently taking blood thinner medicines, such as Coumadin, or you are using insulin to control your blood sugar, we recommend you contact your prescribing physician and inform them you will be having a colonoscopy requiring a clear liquid diet and bowel prep.
You will have diarrhea as a result of your prep, which can cause dehydration. Your body requires plenty of liquid, which will help flush out your colon and ensure a clean pathway for the scope. Try liquids other than water, such as Gatorade, as these contain electrolytes. Avoid alcoholic drinks as these can dehydrate you, as well as drinks with purple or red dye, as these can “stain” the colon and be mistaken for bleeding.
Using A&D ointment or Vaseline in between trips to the bathrooms may help ease the irritation caused by excessive wiping. Tucks pads are also useful in easing the irritation caused by hemorrhoids.
If your doctor takes a biopsy to be sent to the laboratory, results are usually ready in 5-7 days. If you have not received a phone call by one week, you may call your physician’s office to inquire about your results.
Dentures can be worn, however you may be asked to remove them prior to your procedure. Contact lenses should be removed and glasses worn to prevent drying of the eyes during the procedure. Clothing should be comfortable and loose fitting. All jewelry should be removed.
At Evergreen Endoscopy Center, you have options:
- If you are having symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, rectal bleeding, or abdominal pain, you can schedule an office visit with a physician that comes to EEC. From there, you will be scheduled for your procedure at EEC, as long as you fit the criteria for an outpatient setting. Evergreen Endoscopy Center can provide you a list of physicians and their phone numbers so you may schedule an appointment.
- You can request an appointment through our website. If you are generally healthy and do not have cardiac or pulmonary issues, this option may work for you. After you submit your information, our nurse will review everything. If approved, our Open Access Coordinator will contact you to schedule your appointment. If you do not qualify for the Open Access Program, you will be asked to schedule an appointment to meet with one of our physicians prior to scheduling your procedure.