Patients who have never had a colonoscopy sometimes find the thought of undergoing one to be intimidating. Although there is nothing to be nervous about given the safety of the procedure, it can nevertheless be helpful to have a better understanding of colonoscopies. Read below to learn the answers to some common questions, and contact Forest Hills Gastroenterology's New York City office to schedule a colonoscopy with Dr. Azeem Khan!
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is typically an outpatient procedure performed by a gastroenterologist in order to examine the interior of the colon. The procedure allows the gastroenterologist to check for any abnormalities along the colon wall and to identify possible signs of colon cancer or other gastrointestinal problems.
Who should have a colonoscopy?
The American Cancer Society recommends that most healthy adults have their first colonoscopy between the ages of 45-50. Individuals with a family history of colon cancer could also benefit from having their first colonoscopy at an earlier age. Patients with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or gastrointestinal problems should have their first colonoscopy at an earlier age, as well. If you have concerns, Dr. Khan can also definitively determine if you need a colonoscopy.
How is a colonoscopy performed?
During a colonoscopy procedure at our New York City office, a colonoscope is used to examine the colon. The colonoscope is a thin, flexible tube with a tiny video camera on the end that allows the gastroenterologist to view images of the colon’s interior on a video monitor during the procedure. The colonoscope is gently passed throughout the rectum and into the colon.
How do I prepare for a colonoscopy?
Prior to your colonoscopy, a cleansing routine will be prescribed to help you prepare for the procedure. The cleansing routine can include oral laxatives, a special cleansing solution, and dietary restrictions. Cleansing prior to the procedure helps clean out the colon so that the doctor can better view it’s interior during the colonoscopy.
Does a colonoscopy hurt?
Most patients tolerate colonoscopies quite well and do not experience any significant pain, although some patients do experience minor discomfort. To combat discomfort, sedatives and painkillers are typically used to help patients relax during the procedure.
How long does the procedure take?
Colonoscopy procedures usually take up to one hour to complete. In some cases, the procedure can take a bit longer if polyps are found and removed at the same time. The average length of time it takes to prep, undergo, and recover from a colonoscopy is about three hours total. Most patients return home the same day.
Every adult should have a colonoscopy by age 50, although a gastroenterologist, such as Dr. Khan, can determine if you would benefit from a colonoscopy at an earlier age. To schedule a colonoscopy in New York City with Dr. Khan, contact Forest Hills Gastroenterology at (718) 459-8460.