Patients who want the best results should pick an outstanding colonoscopist, cleanse their bowels scrupulously and probably take the final laxative dose shortly before the procedure. Colonoscopies have helped reduce the death rate from colorectal cancer. The main problem with colonoscopies is that too few people bother to get them. Colonoscopy in our quality-recognized and accredited office-based endoscopy center avoids the high costs of a hospital outpatient department.
Most patients spend less than two hours in our facility and leave with a complete report of their findings, ready to resume most activities as soon as they depart. Our doctors are colonoscopy experts, performing more than 2,000 of these procedures yearly at our in-town endoscopy center, where we have provided more than 33,000 colonoscopies since we opened in 2001. Does It Matter Who Is the Doctor Who Performs Your Screening Colonoscopy? Digestive Health and Southwest Endoscopy “measures up. We will be rolling out a new website in the near future and appreciate your patience as we work to improve our services. Need to laugh a little about your upcoming colonoscopy? The Southwest Endoscopy Center is recognized by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy for promoting quality in endoscopy. The American Board of Certification for Gastroenterology Nurses has awarded us its Excellence in Professionalism Award.
The material provided on this website is for general informational purposes only. If you need specific medical advice, please contact our office for an appointment. This page will take you through the process of preparation for colonoscopy at the Southwest Endoscopy Center. It contains useful information for “first timers” and for returning patients. Our goal is to provide you with a safe, comfortable and accurate examination, and if necessary, to provide you with whatever endoscopic treatment is indicated on the basis of our findings. Colonoscopy is an examination of the colon, also called the large intestine, which is the last 5-6 feet of the intestinal tract, ending in the rectum. The tip of the tube lights the interior of the colon and projects a color image on high definition video monitors. What is an “open access” colonoscopy? Many patients who are thinking about having a colonoscopy performed prefer to avoid a traditional doctor’s office visit with the gastroenterologist prior to scheduling their procedure.
Office visits provide an excellent opportunity to meet face-to-face with the doctor and talk in detail about the procedure, but they are also costly and time consuming, and require time away from work and other life activities that many people don’t wish to spare. In some cases the information that a patient and doctor needs to prepare for the safe and effective performance of an endoscopy can be obtained in other ways. Our “open access” program is designed with your easy access in mind. We are able to offer open access services at this time on a limited case-by-case basis. In some instances an “open access” procedure is not the best option. Either the patient or the doctor may decide that an office visit before scheduling the procedure is the best way to go.
Open access services are not a covered benefit of the Medicare program. Why is my primary care doctor making me go for a colonoscopy? Unfortunately it is a common killer, representing the second leading cause of cancer-related death. Most people with early colon cancer feel perfectly well. Fortunately though, early colon cancer can be detected by colonoscopy at early stages, before it has spread outside the colon. Early stage colon cancer is often highly curable. All individuals should undergo colon cancer screening at or before the age of 50.
Where should I schedule my procedure? Our doctors perform colonoscopy in Durango at the Southwest Endoscopy Center and at Mercy Regional Medical Center’s endoscopy center, which is located in the outpatient surgical area. I have a family history of colon cancer. While most cases of colon cancer occur in people with no familial risk factors, individuals who have a close relative who has had colon cancer, particularly at a young age, are at increased risk themselves for developing colon cancer. They should be initially examined at a younger age, and examined more often, than individuals without risk factors. When doctors ask about a family history of colon cancer or colon polyps we want to know how many blood relatives have had these diagnoses, at what age, and how close the relative was or is to the patient. About one out of every four patients in whom colon cancer is diagnosed have a family history of colon cancer. There are a few uncommon but well-defined familial genetic colon cancer syndromes in which many relatives develop colon cancer at very young ages.
We understand that it is distressing to live with the knowledge that you have an increased statistical risk of developing a serious and potentially fatal disease such as colon cancer. Regular colonoscopy can dramatically reduce the probability that you will develop colon cancer. Recent studies also show a new “silver lining” related to colon cancer family history. I’ve heard that the “colon cleanse” is the worst part of the procedure. What can I do to make it easier? A clean colon is essential for a safe and effective colonoscopy. If the doctor encounters residual waste material during a colonoscopy it may be necessary to stop the procedure before it is completed, and retained waste may hide serious problems, such as flat polyps or cancers.
Gastroenterologists use a variety of methods and products to cleanse the colon of all waste prior to a colonoscopy examination. The product provided often depends on what the pharmacist has available or what your insurer may allow. While individuals respond to the preparation differently, most will develop a feeling of fullness, bloating and distension after drinking a few glasses. Some people even report that they feel as if they will explode! While these symptoms are unpleasant, it is important to try to stay on course with your drinking. While we believe that our standard preparation generally provides the safest, best tolerated and most reliably effective cleansing available, some individuals have difficulty tolerating such large volumes of fluids. Gatorade prep, is another option for some patients.
December 11, 2008 warning of the risk associated with the use of these agents. What happens after I arrive and check in? Once you’ve completed the cleansing preparation the rest of the procedure is generally easy. Once everything is ready and your gastroenterologist is in the room, a nurse anesthetist will administer a sedative under the doctor’s direction. A second nurse or technician will assist the doctor. Colonoscopy usually takes about 15 minutes of actual instrument-in-the-body procedure time, though technically demanding procedures may occasionally take twice this long. Most of our patients are ready to be discharged home about 20 minutes after the completion of their procedure, after reviewing their written procedure report and any necessary instructions with our nursing staff.
I am worried about the idea of being sedated. How long is the instrument that goes inside me? How do you clean the instrument before you use it on me? How will I feel after its done? What can I do the rest of the day? Most patients feel a little bloated, relaxed, and relieved. Many are hungry and anxious to find some food.
We recommend that you not drive, eat a light meal to start with, and take it easy for a few hours. Many patients can then resume most of their activities right away, though driving should be restricted until the following day. You should expect to resume all of your normal activities the next day. When will normal bowel function return? This depends on your underlying bowel habit and your diet after the procedure. Most patients return to normal bowel function within 1-3 days. What does a normal colon look like during colonoscopy?
Complete cleansing of the colon is critical to ensure an optimal examination. What is a polyp, and why should I care if I have one? Polyps are common growths which develop on the interior lining of the colon. The term “polyp” is commonly used to describe colon lesions which are often raised growths projecting from the colon surface but may also be elevated and flat or even depressed in shape. Some polyps, particularly those known as adenomas or adenomatous polyps, develop as a result of genetic mutations. Polyps are generally removed as soon as they are detected during the performance of a colonoscopy, to prevent progression to cancer. In this case the abnormal tissue at the head of the polyp is attached to the colon wall with a broad stalk. The stalk tissue itself does contain potentially premalignant tissue changes. This polyp was fully removed at the time of colonoscopy at the Southwest Endoscopy Center with a cautery snare.
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