A colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that enables doctors to view the inside of the large intestine. This procedure is carried out for a number of reasons but is most frequently used as a screening tool for cancer, polyps, and disease inside the colon.
A conventional colonoscopy uses a scope, which is a long thin semi-flexible tube with a light and a viewing instrument that sends images to a monitor. It is inserted into the anus to view the inside lining of the entire colon all the way to the lower end of the small intestine. A colonoscopy is often used to search for any early signs of cancer in the colon and rectum, but can also be used to help diagnose the cause of any unexplained changes in bowel habits, inflamed tissue, abnormal growth, ulcers, or bleeding. In addition to this, the scope is used for taking photographs, obtaining a biopsy (tissue sample), surgically removing polyps, and performing specialized laser surgery.
Misconceptions About Colonoscopy
There are misconceptions about what a colonoscopy feels like to patients. Many people avoid getting this important test done because of fear that it will hurt. Nothing could be farther from the truth. A colonoscopy is a gentle, painless screening that is done in the most relaxing and kind manner possible.
First, patients who get colonoscopies are unconscious and feel nothing. When they wake up from the screening, they have no memory of it. Second, a colonoscopy is painless. The colonoscopy scope is a very thin and flexible tool that, when passed into the body, doesn’t result in pain or bruising. Once the screening is over and the sedation wears off, patients are able to continue on with their activities as normal. Patients don’t even feel pain after a colonoscopy. There are rarely any symptoms afterward.
Another misconception is that colonoscopy is a surgery. A colonoscopy is actually a screening, which means it checks for abnormal growths or issues within the colon. The tools used during the screening help to achieve this, not to perform surgery. However, if there are abnormal growths known as polyps within the colon, doctors are able to remove them during a colonoscopy. Because polyps can turn cancerous, removing them is beneficial and can save you from colon cancer in the future.
Finally, some people believe a colonoscopy is a lengthy procedure – it is not. In fact, the actual colonoscopy can take as little as 30 minutes to perform. Most of the time is taken up in preparation for the screening as well as recovery/waiting for the sedation to wear off.
Complete Gastroenterology Care in Westlake and Brooklyn, Ohio
If you would like to learn more about colonoscopy, contact the friendly and professional staff at North Shore Gastroenterology. We are dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of all types of digestive disorders, affecting the GI tract, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. Our providers will work closely with primary care physicians, to diagnose and treat gastrointestinal disorders. For more information, call us today at (440) 808-1212 or you can contact us using our online form.