How is a colonoscopy done?
Colonoscopy may be done at the doctor’s office or in the outpatient department of a medical center or hospital.
Before the procedure
Your doctor may:
- Order some blood tests and imaging studies (such as X-ray, CT scan, and MRI)
- Ask you about any chronic health conditions
- Ask you about any medications that you are on
- Ask about any allergies that you may have
- Explain the procedure in detail, including possible complications, and address your doubts and concerns related to it
- Obtain your written consent
- Explain to you the steps for bowel cleansing (bowel preparation). The steps for bowel preparation include:
- Using enemas
- Not eating solid foods for 1 to 3 days before the test
- Taking laxatives
- Ask you to drink plenty of clear liquids for 1 to 3 days before the test. Clear fluids include water, clear coffee or tea, gelatin, fat-free bouillon or broth, sports drinks without added color, and strained fruit juices
During the test
- You will be asked to wear a hospital gown.
- An intravenous line will be attached, and sedative will be administered. This will make you comfortable and pain-free during the procedure.
- You will lie on your left side with your knees drawn up towards your chest.
- The doctor will gently insert the colonoscope through the anus. The colonoscope will be slowly advanced up to the lowest part of the small bowel.
- Air is inserted through the colonoscope for a better view of the inside.
- Suction may be done for removing fluid or stool.
- The scope will be slowly moved out as the doctor examines the inside of the bowel while withdrawing it.
- Your doctor may remove small tissue samples (biopsy) or polyps using tiny tools inserted through the colonoscope.
- Therapeutic procedures, such as laser therapy, may be done if needed during the procedure.
- Photographs of the inside of the bowel may be taken by the camera at the end of the colonoscope.
After the procedure
You may feel mild cramps in the abdomen and pass a lot of gas. There may be some bloating or the feeling of being sick to your stomach. This will soon go away.
You will be able to go home about an hour after the test. You will need someone’s help to take you home due to the effect of sedatives.