What is Involved in a Colonoscopy?
Whether you’re experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain or your doctor has recommended a routine colonoscopy, you probably feel a little apprehensive about the procedure. There are many good reasons to have this procedure performed, and the exam is much easier than many people imagine.
In this blog, the gastroenterologists at Gramercy Park Digestive Disease Center will explain exactly what’s involved in a colonoscopy.
What is a colonoscopy?
This exam performed by your doctor, who uses a long, flexible tool called a colonoscope to look for any changes or abnormalities in your colon (large intestine) and rectum. This procedure not only lets your doctor examine these areas but also remove any polyps or tissues that look abnormal. Small samples of tissue can also be removed for further testing.
Why is a colonoscopy performed?
This procedure is most often performed to detect colon cancer. It allows your doctor to detect and treat precancerous polyps by catching them at their earliest stages. It can also be used as a follow-up procedure if you’ve previously had polyps, so your doctor can look for and remove any additional ones that may form and help reduce your risk of colon cancer.
Groups such as the American Cancer Society recommend having this procedure performed when you’re age 50 or over if you have a normal risk for colorectal cancer. However, if you have a family history of colorectal cancer or are otherwise at a higher risk for developing this disease, your doctor may recommend that you be tested earlier and more frequently.
This exam can also be used to determine the cause of a variety of conditions, including the following:
- Chronic diarrhea
- Chronic constipation
- Abdominal pain
- Rectal bleeding
- Blood in the stool
- Unexplained weight loss
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Iron deficiency anemia
What are the advantages of a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy allows your doctor to clearly view the rectum and colon, and it’s the most effective, accurate way to find and remove polyps and tumors, which can decrease your risk from colon and rectal cancer. This type of cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death when combining men and women and the third leading cause when men and women are considered separately.
In addition, this procedure not only lets your doctor see issues of concern but also allows him or her to address them at the same time. During a colonoscopy, your doctor can remove any polyps or other suspicious growths or take a tissue sample (biopsy) to test for cancer.
It’s also a useful test for diagnosing a variety of other issues, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, which is the first step toward relieving your symptoms.
Although no one looks forward to this procedure, most people find the preparation more uncomfortable than the exam itself. You’ll be sedated during your colonoscopy, so you’ll experience no discomfort. The procedure usually takes only about 30 minutes, and you’ll be able to return home afterward with the help of a friend or family member.
Where can I have a colonoscopy performed in NYC?
Gramercy Park Digestive Disease Center, also known as GPDDC, specializes in gastroenterology services, including colonoscopies. Our doctors are top board-certified gastroenterologists and have the experience and skill needed to precisely perform your exam and accurately diagnose any issues we may see. We’re dedicated to providing personalized, compassionate, and cost-effective health care services to patients throughout New York City and beyond.
To receive a routine colonoscopy or to ask about GI-related symptoms, make an appointment with GPDDC today by calling (212) 979-3237.