COLONOSCOPY

A colonoscopy is a procedure that allows an endoscopist to see the inside lining of the rectum and colon using a special instrument called a colonoscope.

A colonoscope is a flexible tube with a miniature camera attached to one end so that the endoscopist can visualize your colon and take photographs if necessary. You will be sedated in this procedure for your comfort therefore, you must have a responsible adult available to pick you up from the clinic lobby as appointments with sedation will prohibit you from driving or operating heavy machinery for 24 hours after your appointment.

 

During a colonoscopy, tissue samples can be collected and polyps can be removed. A colonoscopy is true cancer prevention since, unlike other cancers, in colon cancer there is a precursor (i.e. a polyp) which can be removed to prevent the cancer from developing. In the other forms of cancer, the malignancy is already established when a growth or tumor is discovered.

 

Preparing and emptying your bowel is a key step in whether you have a complete and successful colonoscopy.

Please note that if you are scheduled for both a colonoscopy and a gastroscopy you are to follow the preparation instructions for a colonoscopy.  

WHAT TO EXPECT

Before the Procedure 

  • Your temperature will be checked upon entering the clinic and a nurse will escort you to the intake area

  • You will be assigned a bed and asked to undress and put on a gown. 

  • The nurse will then take your blood pressure, pulse & oxygen levels and will ask you questions pertinent to your medical history and go through the procedure consent forms. 

  • The nurse or anesthesiologist will also start an intravenous (IV) site in your arm or hand if you are to receive sedation.

 

During the Procedure

  • You will be accompanied to the procedure room via stretcher, where the physician will speak to you about risks and benefits of the procedure and go through important information pertaining to your health. 

  • A nurse will be with you throughout the duration of your procedure.

  • You will receive sedation through the IV site to keep the procedure relaxing and pain free.

  • The colonoscope will be inserted into the rectum and gradually advanced through the colon to examine the lining thoroughly. You may feel some pressure and cramping as the colonoscope is introduced further. This discomfort is in part due to the air the physician has to put in to facilitate the inspection of the colon.

 

What Happens After the Procedure

  • You may feel bloated right after the procedure, and letting the air out will bring relief from the cramps and the bloating. 

  • A small tube may be inserted temporarily in rectum to relieve the bloating.

  • You will return to the recovery area where the nurse and/or physician will monitor your vitals

  • The results of your colonoscopy will be written for you on a discharge sheet that you can take home to review. The endoscopist may discuss the results with you as well. 

  • Any pathology specimen retrieved will be sent to the laboratory for assessment and testing. Lab results are subject to the laboratory processing time, which currently is around 3 weeks. Your referring physician will be copied on the lab results and will receive them at the same time that we do.  

On Leaving the Clinic
  • Since this procedure is usually done with sedation, you will remain in the recovery room until the nurse feels you are ready and fit to be discharged. This may be up to 30-40 minutes post-procedure.

  • You must not drive a motor vehicle, operate hazardous equipment, or make any legal decisions for 24 hours after your procedure time. It is against the law to drive a motorized vehicle under the influence of sedative drugs.

  • You are advised not to consume alcohol for 24 hours following your procedure time.

  • You must be accompanied by a responsible adult (over 18 years), even if you are travelling by taxi. It is unsafe for you to travel by bus or ride share/taxi.

  • Please follow the instructions given by your nurse and physician.