About the procedure
A colonoscopy is a direct visual examination of the entire
large intestine or colon. The colonoscope is a specialized
piece of equipment which is inserted into the rectum and
can be maneuvered through the full length of the colon.
The scope is over one meter long and about the width of
a finger. Images from the scope are transmitted to a video
monitor and your doctor uses these images to inspect the
lining of the bowel. If any abnormalities are found, pictures
and biopsies can be taken and small pieces of tissue can
be removed during the procedure.
You will need to “clean out” or prepare the bowel prior to
the procedure. To view the complete, printable version of the preparation instructions, click here. Sedation is given for the procedure and you will need to arrange for someone else to
drive you home. Colonoscopy is a very safe procedure but
as with any invasive test, there is some risk. A perforation
or “hole” in the bowel is made in less than 1 in 3000 cases.
If this occurs, surgery may be required to repair the bowel.
The likelihood of detecting a large colon polyp or a colon
cancer is much higher than the chance of a perforation.
Polyp Removal (Polypectomy)
Polyps are small, mushroom shaped growths that form on the inner lining of the colon. If left alone, some polyps will continue to grow in size and can develop into colon cancer. If a polyp is seen during your colonoscopy, your doctor will use a thin wire snare to lasso and remove it. The polyp can then be retrieved and sent for microscopic evaluation. Your doctor will ask that you follow up in the office to discuss these results.
A gastroscopy is a direct visual examination of the upper intestinal tract (esophagus, stomach and duodenum). During your visit to OCC, your doctor may suggest a gastroscopy if you have upper intestinal symptoms such as indigestion and heart burn or if you have signs of possible upper intestinal bleeding such as anemia (low blood count) or a positive fecal blood test. Pictures and biopsies can be taken during a gastroscopy.