Colonoscopy is the visual examination of the large intestine (colon) using a flexible fiber optic video endoscope. The colon begins in the right-lower abdomen and looks like a big question mark as it moves up and around the abdomen, ending in the rectum. It is 5 to 6 feet long. The main function of the colon is to store unabsorbed food waste and absorb water and other body fluids before the waste is eliminated as stool.
There are many types of problems that can occur in the colon. The medical history, physical exam, laboratory tests and x-rays can provide information useful in making a diagnosis. Direct vision of the colon by colonoscopy is the most accurate exam.
Colonoscopy is used for the diagnosis and possible treatment of:
- Colon Cancer
- Polyps – tumor growths which can be the precursors to colon cancer.
- Colitis (Ulcerative or Crohn’s) – chronic, inflammation of the colon and small intestine.
- Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis – pockets along the intestinal wall that develop over time and can become infected or bleed.
- Bleeding lesions – bleeding may occur from different points in the colon
- Abdominal symptoms, such as pain or discomfort, particularly if associated with weight loss or anemia
- Chronic diarrhea, constipation, or a change in bowel habits
Based on the location of your procedure, please review the prep instructions for that location.
This procedure is performed at the Kalamazoo Endo Center, Bronson Hospital and Borgess Hospital.
Colonoscopy is usually performed on an outpatient basis.
After the patient is sedated, the colonoscope is inserted through the rectum and moved gently around the bends of the colon. This procedure takes 15 to 30 minutes and is usually well tolerated by the sedated patient.
A recovery area is available to monitor vital signs until the patient is alert and stable for discharge to home.
After the exam, the physician explains the findings to the patient and family. If a biopsy has been performed or a polyp removed, the results of these are not usually available for five to seven days. Please contact our office if you have not heard from us in two weeks(at 269-349-2266) and ask for the doctors’ nurse.
You must not drive a car, operate heavy machinery or make important decisions until the following day. Therefore, you will need to have someone available to drive you home.