Most patients who are asked to get a colonoscopy tend to worry about what the procedure is going to be like. Others might also worry about the possible colonoscopy cost. However, the procedure is not as scary as many people perceive it to be. Regarding the cost of colonoscopy, you will be able to ask your doctor for financial counseling services so that you can get an estimated cost.
Colonoscopies are performed to allow medical professionals to examine the large intestine for any potential underlying causes of symptoms including rectal bleeding, stomach pain, or changes in bowel habits. Additionally, colorectal cancer is prevented by surgery. The operation is ideally advised as soon as you hit 50 because colorectal cancer incidence increases after this age.
What to Do Before the Procedure
Before the procedure, your doctor will ask you about any medical conditions you may have. For instance, you will be asked if you have:
- Allergies to certain medications
- Lung conditions
- Kidney disease
- Heart conditions
You need to also tell your doctor if you are pregnant, have diabetes, or if you take medications that can affect blood clotting. It is likely that they will adjust the medications prior to the procedure.
What Happens During the Procedure
The procedure will be performed by a doctor with significant experience with the procedure. A colonoscopy can last around 30 minutes to an hour. While you won’t be completely unconscious during the procedure, you will be given sedation so you will sleep through the procedure and will have no recollection of it.
You will lie on your left side on the examination table. The instrument used in this procedure is called a colonoscope, a long, tubular, and flexible instrument that’s around a half inch in diameter. The colonoscope will transmit images of the colon’s lining so doctors can check for any possible abnormalities.
Doctors will insert the colonoscope through your rectum. Since a colonoscope bends, it can be moved around the colon’s curves. A colonoscope can also be used to blow air into the colon, causing it to expand so the doctor can better examine it. However, this can cause some cramping during the procedure though the effects will rarely last long.
If the doctor sees anything abnormal during the procedure, a small amount of tissue might be taken to be examined and analyzed. This procedure is known as biopsy and it can help identify any polyps and abnormal growths taken during the procedure. Once the procedure is done, the colonoscope will be withdrawn.
What to Expect After the Procedure
After the procedure, you can expect the following:
- You will be staying in the recovery room for at least 30 minutes (for observation)
- You can immediately resume with your normal diet
- You will feel some sensation of having gas or cramping (this usually passes quickly)
You will also be given discharge instructions and you need to follow the instructions strictly. Some medications like blood-thinning agents may be avoided for the time being if polyps were removed or if biopsies were taken.
Bleeding and puncture of the colon are two of the very rare complications of the procedure. Make sure you visit your doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Prolonged or excessive rectal bleeding