You may need a colonoscopy to get to the root cause of symptoms like abdominal pain and constipation. But colonoscopies are best known as the gold standard for colon cancer screening. The team at Advanced Endoscopy Center performs diagnostic and screening colonoscopies and then treats any problems they find during your procedure. To learn more about when you should schedule a screening colonoscopy, call the office today.

What is a Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that allows your provider at Advanced Endoscopy Center to examine the inside of your rectum and colon. To perform a colonoscopy, they use a thin, flexible, scope that holds a camera and lighting.

As they guide the scope through your anus, rectum, and colon, the camera sends images to a monitor so they can examine the tissues lining the colon. After reaching the end of the colon, they slowly withdraw the scope, carefully examining the tissues again and treating any problems they find.

When Might I Need a Colonoscopy?

Though a diagnostic and screening colonoscopy both follow the same process, they have different names based on the reason for the procedure.

Diagnostic Colonoscopy

A diagnostic colonoscopy is performed after you have symptoms. The goal of this type of colonoscopy is to determine the cause of symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, and rectal bleeding. You may also need a diagnostic colonoscopy to verify the results of an ultrasound or CT scan.

Screening colonoscopy

A screening colonoscopy is done to detect problems before symptoms appear. Or more specifically, this procedure is done to screen for colon cancer.

Most colon cancers start as benign (noncancerous) polyps. Over time, polyps can gradually turn into cancer. Removing polyps effectively prevents or treats colon cancer.

What Should I Expect During a Colonoscopy?

The day before your colonoscopy, you need to cleanse your colon by following a liquid diet and taking laxatives. This preparation is essential because your provider can’t examine the colon if the stool is present.

Just before your colonoscopy, you take a sedative so you can relax and stay comfortable during the exam. Then your provider inserts the colonoscope and does the procedure.

During your colonoscopy, they can insert tiny instruments through the scope to take care of problems. For example, they can pass a laser through the scope or inject medications. They also have specialized instruments for removing polyps. Any tissues that are removed are sent to a pathology lab where they’re examined under a microscope. The pathologists send a report identifying the cells in the tissues, including cancer cells.

Most colonoscopies take only about 15-20 minutes. Then you stay in the office for about 30-60 minutes while you recover.

If you need to schedule a colonoscopy, call Advanced Endoscopy Center.