A colonoscopy is a visual examination of the large intestine (colon) using a lighted, flexible fiber optic or video endoscope. It is usually performed on an outpatient basis, and it usually takes 15-30 minutes.

You will be mildly sedated while the endoscope is inserted through the anus and moved gently around the bends of the colon. If a polyp is encountered, it will be removed. This does not cause any pain.

After the procedure, your vital signs are monitored until you are fully awake. Mild cramping and abdominal bloating can be normal for a short time, and usually subside within an hour or so. Due to the mild sedation, you should not drive or operate machinery for the remainder of the day. A companion does need to accompany you to the hospital and drive you home after the procedure.

More information about the colonoscopy procedure is available here.

Colonoscopy Preparation

Prior to the colonoscopy, your colon must be clean and free of stool to achieve the optimal visualization of polyps and other abnormalities. Drink only clear liquids and eat no food for the day prior to the exam. Eat light for at least 2 days before your exam to make the preparation easier to tolerate. Avoid eating nuts / seeds for at least 3 days before your exam. You will drink a solution that flushes the colon clean, or take laxatives and enemas. Feel free to inquire about a pill form of prep or a smaller volume/concentrated prep; however, it is important to drink a good amount of water to stay hydrated. The physician will advise you regarding the use of regular medications during that time.

There are several colon preparations available for bowel cleansing. Your physician will recommend the prep you should use, with any modifications (if necessary). The major preps used by our office are listed below. Click on the name of the prep type to see more information. You can print these instructions for easy reference.