A colonoscopy allows a gastroenterologist to examine the lining of the large intestine, which is known as the colon. A colonoscopy can reveal the presence of polyps and other abnormalities that could be an indication of colorectal cancer or other gastrointestinal problems. At Forest Hills Gastroenterology in New York City, colonoscopies are performed by our skilled gastroenterologist, Dr. Azeem Khan—read on to learn more.
When to Undergo a Colonoscopy
The recommendation of the American Cancer Society is that all healthy adults undergo their first colonoscopy between the ages of 45 and 50 years old. However, individuals who have a family history of colorectal cancer should schedule a colonoscopy sooner. Additionally, anyone experiencing persistent gastrointestinal problems should talk to a gastroenterologist about having a colonoscopy. Gastrointestinal issues could be an indication of ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, or a similar condition.
The Colonoscopy Procedure
During a colonoscopy procedure, the gastroenterologist examines the interior of the colon to look for abnormalities, such as polyps. The procedure is performed by inserting a thin flexible tube called a colonoscope into the anus and slowly moving it into the rectum and colon. The colonoscope contains a small lens and light that records images that the gastroenterologist can immediately view on a video monitor during the procedure.
At our New York City practice, the colonoscopy is usually performed as an outpatient procedure with most patients returning home the same day. The colonoscopy takes about one hour to complete unless polyps are discovered and removed during the procedure. In such cases, the colonoscopy will take longer. In total, the time needed to prep for the colonoscopy, perform the procedure, and recover is about three hours.
Preparing for a Colonoscopy
Prior to undergoing a colonoscopy, patients are given instructions to prepare for the procedure. The colon needs to be completely clean so the gastroenterologist can readily spot potential concerns. In order to cleanse the colon, certain dietary restrictions will be required. For example, patients should limit their diet to clear liquids the day before the colonoscopy. Additionally, patients are given oral laxatives or a special cleansing solution to fully clear the colon. Being well-rested before the procedure is also helpful.
If you are approaching age 50, are experiencing gastrointestinal issues, or have a family history of colorectal cancer, you should speak to a gastroenterologist about scheduling a colonoscopy. Dr. Khan can determine if you need a colonoscopy for any of the reasons mentioned. To learn more about scheduling a colonoscopy, call Forest Hills Gastroenterology in New York City at (718) 268-0418.