Our gastroenterologist, Dr. Pratima Dibba, discusses what a colonoscopy is, why a patient should get one, and what is needed to prepare for a colonoscopy.
A colonoscopy is an exam that we use to evaluate the colon. It entails us inserting a long thin camera through the rectum and reaching over to the other side where it connects with a small intestine. It allows us to actually visualize the colon and detect either colon polyps or actual colon cancer. A colonoscopy can be done in two different settings, either as a preventative measure or a diagnostic measure.
Here in the gastroenterology department of the Medical Offices of Manhattan, we are strong advocates of preventative care, early detection and removal of colon polyps at an earlier age is a benefit in the younger population where the incidence of colon cancer has actually been rising. Some major pivotal figures that we have in our community have been diagnosed with colon cancer at such a young age. And so I’m really a proponent that people at age 45 come and get their colonoscopies as they get any of their other routine checkups. All patients will come in to visit one of the gastroenterologists in the office. And they’ll be given specific instructions as to how to prepare for this test. But in short, it will entail a patient taking a medication either the day before or the morning of the procedure to completely clean out their bowels.
It will also give instructions as to what to do with medications that they take and what dietary changes need to be made in the days leading up to the procedure. When you come in for your colonoscopy, you’ll be positioned and you will meet the person who is going to actually put you to sleep. You’ll be put to sleep right before we begin the procedure and wake up right after the procedure is complete. And you’ll receive a report with not only pictures, but written information as to exactly what went on during the procedure and what we found.
Follow up after colonoscopy really depends on what we find and the instances in which we take samples, or we remove polyps this warrants, an actual in-office visit where we can go over the results and assess when we should look back in again, if you have no polyps, then generally the follow up will be just to make sure that you’re doing well after the colonoscopy. Recovery is just as straightforward. Basically, if it was a very uneventful colonoscopy, you’ll wake up thereafter. We suggest that you not do anything major the day of the procedure, take the day off and rest, but you can resume your normal activities the next day. Just as patients get mammograms or get their prostate checked at a certain age, they should get their colonoscopies at least once to evaluate their colon.