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A colonoscopy is the best way to find colon cancer and precancerous polyps and is the only procedure that allows your surgeon to remove any trouble spots at the same time.
Screening colonoscopies are performed as a preventive measure when there are no symptoms of colon cancer. Screening colonoscopies are covered 100% by many insurers.
While considered surgery, a colonoscopy does not involve an incision except to remove potentially cancerous tissue. While you are under general anesthesia, your surgeon will insert a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera at its tip into the rectum and gradually advance it through the entire colon. The physician examines the colon thoroughly before slowly withdrawing the scope.
There are very few risks with a colonoscopy. The most frequent complication is a mild scratch or cut inside the colon, which can be treated with antibiotics if necessary.
You’ll go home shortly after your colonoscopy, as no overnight stay is necessary. Because you’ll have general anesthesia, you’ll need to have someone bring you to appointment and wait to take you home. Saturday appointments for colonoscopies are available with Norton Healthcare physicians.
At-home colon cancer tests are easier, but not as precise as a colonoscopy. And if the test reveals any concerns, you’ll need a colonoscopy anyway. A second colon cancer screening or diagnostic colonoscopy may incur more out-of-pocket costs with your insurer.
A colonoscopy is now recommended starting at age 45 and again every five to 10 years depending on the screening’s results. If you have a family or personal history of colon cancer or colon polyps, a colonoscopy might be recommended sooner and more often.
Your physician may recommend a colonoscopy earlier, as research has shown Black Americans experience colon cancer at a higher rate. Also, if you have a relative who had colon cancer or precancerous polyps, you might need to get your first colonoscopy 10 years before the age your relative was at the time of diagnosis.
Norton Surgical Specialists – St. Matthews, Norton Surgical Specialists – Colorectal Health and Norton Gastroenterology Consultants of Louisville offer colonoscopy on demand, meaning you can make an appointment for your colonoscopy without a referral or need for an initial office visit.
Your physician will need to be able to see the inside of your colon clearly, so the day before your colonoscopy you’ll be on a liquid diet. You’ll start cleansing the bowel usually a few hours before bed. Despite what you may have heard, the bowel prep is nothing to be afraid of. It isn’t painful and, well, you’ve been doing this your whole life. Maybe not off-and-on for a few hours, but it isn’t really anything new.
Colonoscopies are often scheduled for the morning. You can expect to be at the hospital or outpatient center for about three hours. An intravenous line in your arm will deliver medication to make you feel relaxed and put you to sleep.
A companion must accompany you to the procedure because you will not be able to drive afterward. Plan on taking the whole day off work for your colonoscopy.
You likely will be able to resume a normal diet after the colonoscopy. Most people feel tired after the procedure and may have a little gas or bloating. Start off with mild foods and work your way back to a normal diet.
By the following day, most people feel back to normal and can resume normal activities, including driving.
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