Procedures

Colonoscopy

The doctors of Gastroenterology of Southern Indiana must often perform routine procedures for the evaluation and treatment of many digestive tract problems. For detailed information regarding a specific procedure, simply click on the procedure listed below. The information about the following procedures is meant as a reference only and should not be used as diagnostic treatment.

 

Colonoscopy is an endoscopic procedure that visually examines the entire colon.  The preparation is with an oral solution that removes the waste from the colon.  The inside of the colon is then examined for any abnormalities that may exist.  During this procedure, polyps may be safely removed.  This procedure is commonly performed for evaluation of abnormal radiographic studies, removal of polyps, assessment of bleeding and screening for colon cancer.

 

Reasons For Exam

 

The colon is the site for numerous diseases which can give you various symptoms.  Colonoscopy is useful in discovering these problems and in treating them.  Some of these conditions include:

  • Colon cancer — This is serious but highly curable if diagnosed early.
  • Polyps — These are fleshy tumors which are sometimes the forerunners of colon cancer.
  • Colitis (Ulcerative or Crohn's) — Chronic or recurrent inflammation of the colon.
  • Diverticulosis — These are little sacs that develop on the colon wall.  They can become infected or be a cause of bleeding.
  • Sites of bleeding
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abnormal barium X-ray exam
  • Chronic diarrhea
Colonoscopy

Preparation for Exam

 

An oral laxative solution is given the day before the procedure.  This will cleanse the waste from the colon.  It is important that the preparation be followed completely.  This procedure examines the inside of the colon.  Thus, if feces are retained, or the preparation is inadequate, areas of the colon that may be of importance to your health may be missed or misinterpreted.  Usually the preparations given for these are excellent.  If you have specific difficulties with laxatives or the preparations, please inform your physician so that alternatives can be addressed.  Please make sure that your physician knows well in advance if you are taking any blood thinners.  Specific instructions will be given to each patient by our nursing staff.

 

Equipment

 

The colonoscope is a flexible instrument that can be steered around many bends in the colon.  The colonoscope has an optically sensitive computer chip in the tip which transmits the signal onto a large video screen.  An open channel in the scope allows other instruments to be passed through this channel to take biopsies, remove polyps, or stop bleeding.  Our facility uses the most state-of-the-art equipment.

 

Benefits

 

A colonoscopy is performed primarily to identify and/or correct a problem in the colon.  This means the test enables a diagnosis to be made upon which specific treatment can be given.  For example, if a polyp is found during the exam, it usually can be removed at that time, eliminating the need for a major operation later.  If a bleeding site is identified, treatment can be administered to stop the bleeding.  Other treatments can be performed through the colonoscope when necessary.

 

Risks & Side Effects

 

No test is 100% accurate and infrequently colonoscopy can miss abnormalities which are present.  You may have a feeling of bloating which is temporary.  Complications are very uncommon.  Bleeding can occur following a biopsy or removal of a polyp, but it is usually minimal and rarely requires a blood transfusion or surgery.  A localized irritation of the vein can occur at the IV site resulting in a tender lump which may last for several weeks.  Application of hot moist towels may relieve the discomfort.  Other risks include complications of underlying heart or lung disease and reactions to one of the sedatives.  Perforation (a tear in the colon) is exceedingly rare and occurs in approximately 1 in 1,000 cases.  Any of these complications could involve hospitalization, emergency surgery, or in an exceptionally rare case, death.

 

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