SIU School of Medicine

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Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy enables your doctor to examine the lining of your colon (large intestine) for abnormalities by inserting a flexible tube as thick as your finger into your anus and slowly advancing it into the rectum and colon.

What Preparations are Required?

Your doctor will tell you what dietary restrictions to follow and what cleansing routine to use. In general, the preparation consists of either consuming a large volume of a special cleansing solution or clear liquids and special oral laxatives. The colon must be completely clean for the procedure to be accurate and complete, so be sure to follow your doctor's instructions carefully.

What Happens During Colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is well-tolerated and rarely causes much pain. You might feel pressure, bloating or cramping during the procedure. Your doctor might give you a sedative to help you relax and better tolerate any discomfort.

You will lie on your side or back while your doctor slowly advances a colonoscope through your large intestine to examine the lining. Your doctor will examine the lining again as he or she slowly withdraws the colonoscope. The procedure itself usually takes 15-60 minutes, although you should plan on two to three hours for waiting, preparation and recovery.

What Happens After a Colonoscopy?

Your physician will explain the results of the examination to you, although you'll probably have to wait for the results of any biopsies performed. If you were given sedatives during this procedure, someone must drive you home and stay with you. Even if you feel alert after the procedure, your judgment and reflexes could be impaired for the rest of the day. You might have some cramping or bloating because of the air introduced into the colon during the examination. This should disappear quickly when you pass gas.

You should be able to eat after the examination, but your doctor may restrict your diet and activities, especially after polypectomy.

Call the GI nurse at 545-8000 if you have any questions about your upcoming procedure.

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