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What Is It?

Colonoscopyis a procedure to examine the large intestine. It also allows the doctor to take biopsies and/or remove polyps.

How Do I Prepare?

  • Discuss with your doctor what medications you should take.
  • If you are taking medication to thin your blood (e.g., Coumadin, Warfarin, Plavix, or aspirin), you should check with your doctor about stopping these medications before this test.
  • Medications that your doctor has instructed you to take can be taken with a small amount of water.
  • You will be given specific instructions for a bowel preparation. Follow these instructions exactly as they are written. Your bowel must be completely empty to be properly examined.
  • If you do not take the prep, the procedure cannot be done.
  • Be sure to arrange transportation. Someone must stay with you at the hospital until discharge and drive you home. Transportation will be verified before the procedure. You may use a taxi cab for your transportation only if you have a person accompanying you other than the taxi cab driver. Your procedure may be cancelled if these arrangements are not made.

What Happens During the Procedure?

  • Consent is signed. If your doctor gave you consent forms, please bring them with you.
  • An intravenous needle (IV) is inserted.
  • You will be given medication to make you sleepy and relaxed and to minimize discomfort. If you are not going to receive sedation, your doctor will have discussed this with you.
  • Oxygen will be used throughout the procedure.
  • Your blood pressure and pulse will be continuously monitored throughout the procedure.
  • You will be lying on your left side for the start of the procedure.
  • A long flexible tube is inserted through the rectum into the large intestine.
  • The procedure takes about 20-40 minutes.
  • Recovery time is about 45-60 minutes.
  • Plan to be at the hospital for a minimum of 2 hours.