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Colonoscopy Procedure

Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is the gold standard procedure for examining and evaluating the overall health of your colon. A lighted flexible tube is inserted through the anus to allow visualization of the colon. The entire length of large intestine is carefully inspected, searching for abnormalities, obtaining biopsies and removing polyps. The colon is approximately 3-5 feet in length (opinions vary) with the major function being to eliminate waste products from the body.

The Grand Junction Endoscopy Center is staffed by Gastroenterologists who are physician specialists trained in the study of the physiology and pathology of the stomach, intestines, esophagus, liver, gallbladder and pancreas.

A Gastroenterologist is the specialist most qualified to perform this procedure.

Reasons for the exam

There are a variety of medical reasons to have a colonoscopy. Some include:

  • Regular screening for men & women age 50 and older
  • Family history of colon cancer
  • Personal history of colon cancer
  • Polyps (tissue growth/tumor that can be a forerunner of colon cancer)
  • Colitis (Ulcerative or Crohn’s) - chronic, recurrent inflammation
  • Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis—pockets along the intestinal wall that develop over time and can become infected
  • 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
  • Abnormal barium x-ray exam
  • Chronic diarrhea, constipation, or a change in bowel habits
  • Anemia

Equipment

The endoscope is an amazing piece of equipment that is used by your Gastroenterologist to maneuver around the numerous bends and curves of your intestine. The Grand Junction Endoscopy Center uses state of the art video technology. The endoscope has an open channel running through it that allows other instruments such as biopsy forceps or snares to remove polyps and/or obtain biopsy specimens.

The Bowel Prep

To obtain the full benefits of the exam, the colon must be clean and free of stool.

  • The purpose of the bowel prep is to clean out the colon to allow clear visualization for the exam. A bowel prep is the only way to effectively clean out the bowel (if there was another way, we would use it).
  • Many people delay getting a colonoscopy because they don’t want to do the bowel prep.
  • It is a short term discomfort for a long term cause.
  • You will receive prep instructions in the mail once you have scheduled your colonoscopy.

The Procedure

Is usually performed on an outpatient basis at our Endoscopy Facility.

  • An RN will start an IV for sedation
  • You will be taken to a procedure room where you will speak with your physician prior to the procedure.
  • The physician will give you a mild sedative to relax you for the procedure.
  • An endoscope is inserted thru the anus and moved gently around the bends of the colon. If a polyp is encountered, a thin wire snare is used to lasso it. Electrocautery (electrical heat) is applied to painlessly remove it. If indicated, biopsies can be obtained as well.
  • The procedure takes 15 to 30 minutes to perform.
  • The patient is monitored in the recovery area for a minimum of 30 minutes following the procedure.
  • Following the exam the physician will share with you the exam results/findings. Patient’s often do not remember the procedure due to the sedation used. For this reason it is good to have a family member or friend accompany you so that the physician can speak with both of you following the procedure.
  • Due to the sedation, you are considered legally impaired and must have a driver to take you home following the procedure.
  • It is normal to have some gas pains following the procedure. This usually subsides within an hour or two.
  • If a biopsy was performed you will be notified by mail or phone within 7-10 days post procedure.

Alternative Testing

  • Alternative testing to colonoscopy includes barium enema or other types of x-ray exams that demonstrate an outline of the colon. Stool or blood samples can provide some information about a colon condition. These exams, however, do not allow direct viewing of the colon, removal of polyps, or the collection of biopsies.

Colorectal Cancer

Preventable

Treatable

Beatable

Through regular screening

Colon Polyp Procedure Illustration

 

Medical Photos
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